from where you’d rather be

Jesus is from where you’d rather be.
All through summer was this ad at the bus stop outside my house. It featured a picturesque Mexican beach, a beautiful surfer girl carrying a longboard on her head, and three guys sitting on a platform, drinking beer, watching the sunset and the waves. It was a little snapshot of surfer heaven. Perfection.

Yet, for me, sadly unattainable. 

Of course, that was the point of the ad; we’re not sitting on a picturesque Mexican beach, but there is a bottle shop around the corner that sells the same beer that the guys are drinking! And that beer is a little foretaste of what could be, if only I made some plans, convinced my wife that Mexico would be a good holiday destination with the kids, and saved up. And if she says “no” (which I suspect is highly likely), then at least I can have the beer!

That ad is all about the lifestyle, of which the product is merely one component. And by tasting that one component, we can imagine ourselves right there, living that lifestyle.

It’s not often that Jesus gets likened to beer, but here goes. Jesus is our foretaste, not of heaven, but of a new creation. Like this one, but his way. Perfected.

In the prologue to John’s gospel, John writes that Jesus “took on flesh and made his dwelling among us.” That is, Jesus is from heaven. He came to earth; not as some supernatural being who looked like a human, but as an actual human. God the Son took on skin and bones, flesh and blood. Fully God, and completely human. 

And the stories of his life in the Gospels give us the foretaste of that new creation. There we see Jesus healing sick people, raising the dead to life, forgiving the sinners, welcoming the outcast and downtrodden.
The way he treats broken people is beautiful. And quite simply, when I look at the news and see war, poverty, strife, corruption, murder, desperation, and brokeness, it’s a total contrast with what the gospels show us in Jesus; God in the flesh, coming to restore what is broken.

The Bible ends with Jesus’ finished product: a new city and a new garden which God invites his people to enjoy forever. There is no more war, poverty, strife, corruption, murder, desperation or brokeness there. Only restoration. Peace. Plenty. Comfort. Integrity. Life. Hope. Fullness. Only Jesus makes this possible. 

And the reason why I find Jesus so compelling is because what he promises in the future, he shows us himself doing in the Gospels: starting that work in the way he treated the people he met. 

Jesus is from where I’d rather be; not a Mexican beach, but a new creation, where everything wrong is undone, and everything broken is made whole. And not only does he inspire me to live more like that now, he invites us to join him there in that perfect heaven.
Matt Jacobs is Youth Minister at St Jude’s Bowral.