We know that Jesus Christ created all things in heaven and on earth. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (Jn. 1:3). “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created by Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16). Therefore, everything belongs to Him, as pointed out by the Psalmist: “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine… for the world is Mine and all it contains” (Psa. 50:10-12).
But when God the Son took on the form of man in order to become the sacrifice for the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29), He “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). Jesus did not hold onto heavenly glory and throw His weight around. As the God-Man, He emptied Himself and gave Himself completely away for the benefit of others.
Though as Creator, He owns all things, while on earth in a human body, He became a “borrower.” Jesus was born in a borrowed place and laid in a borrowed manger. As He traveled, He had no place of His own to spend the night (see Lk. 9:58; Mt. 8:20). He borrowed Simon Peter’s fishing boat from which to preach to the crowd on shore (Lk. 5:1-3). He “borrowed” a boy’s sack lunch to feed thousands of hungry people. (I say “borrowed,” because they ended up with 12 baskets of leftovers!...Jn. 6:1-13). Jesus rode into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday” on a borrowed, unbroken colt (Lk. 19: 28-35). Jesus celebrated the Passover and had His final meal with the disciples in a borrowed “upper room” (Lk. 22: 7-13). After Jesus died in our place on the cross, He was buried in a borrowed tomb, one belonging to Joseph of Arimathea (Lk. 23:50-53; Mt. 27:60; Jn. 19:41 cf Isa. 53:9).
When you reflect on Jesus’ life on earth, He had no dock fees for boat storage, no boarding fees, no rent, no cemetery upkeep, no property to keep up and on which to pay taxes. He had no earthly investments that would have been a distraction. Such ownership would have impeded the vagabond lifestyle necessary to accomplish His task. He became “Jesus the Borrower,” a humility reflected in Phil. 2:5-8 quoted above. It also made Him dependent upon His Father in a new way. He depended on God to provide through fallible humans who “owned” things, like stables, and boats, and rooms and tombs.
Interestingly, when Jesus sent out the Twelve the first time (in pairs), “He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey,” no money, no food, no knapsack and no extra clothes (Mk. 6:7-9). He was teaching them to depend upon God to provide for them through those who “owned” things, Just as Jesus did in His earthly ministry.
Jesus had only temporary need for the things He borrowed, as He would soon be heading back to His heavenly home. Even the tomb was only temporarily borrowed, for He would only need it for portions of three days. Jesus had prophesied on numerous occasions that He would suffer and die and remain in the grave for “three days and three nights” and then rise again (Mt. 12:40; 26:61; 27:40, 63; Mk. 14:58; 15:29). In contrast to the founders of any other religious movements, Jesus’ tomb is empty! When tourists go to visit the site of the Crucifixion of Christ and the tomb in which He was laid, there is nothing but an empty tomb. Praise the Lord, He is alive!–a fact celebrated around the world yesterday.
If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, nothing else matters (I Cor. 15:12-19). That is, if Jesus didn’t conquer death as He promised, then we are still in our sins and life has no meaning, no significance, no purpose and no assured hope for the future. We may as well “eat and drink and (try to) be merry for tomorrow we die” and that is it (Eccl. 8:15). But since Jesus Christ did rise from the dead (a fact for which we have “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3), then we know our sins are paid for and we have eternal life through Him (Jn. 5:24; I Jn. 5:11,12), and nothing else really matters. Everything else is temporal and fading away. Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:16-18).
Because Jesus Christ is alive, and lives in us as believers, we are in a “win-win” situation. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). For our remaining time on earth, we have “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) and can make it through any circumstance because of His presence in us, when we depend upon Him. And when we die, our soul and spirit will be immediately ushered into His presence (II Cor. 5:8). “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (v. 9).