“He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world
shall keep it unto eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me.”
Preacher Clark testified once that God had spoken to him and said, “I am not a hypocrite. I don’t command you to do something that I don’t do.” Jesus was our example, and he expects us to follow it. He did not tell us to hate this life even though he loved it. He hated this life as an example for us, showing us how to hate it in a godly way, as he said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me.”
But what is it about life in this world that Jesus hated? First of all, when he came into the world, the righteous and the wicked were both living in it. Second, when he came into the world, nobody in this world had the kind of life that he had, the eternal life that God gave him when He created him. Therefore, nobody in this world truly knew or understood either him or his Father. His Father knew him, and he knew his Father; every other creature in heaven or in earth was in darkness.
Before the Son of God rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and cast Satan and his angels out, godly and ungodly creatures dwelt in heaven, too. Also, no heavenly creature, except the Son, had God’s kind of life, just as no earthly creature had God’s kind of life. Moreover, Paul said that from the foundation of the world, the Son of God was hidden from both men and heavenly beings until he was revealed in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:9). This means that no creature in heaven knew or understood the Son before he was revealed, just as no creature on earth knew or understood the Son. In short, the kind of life Jesus hated in this world when he came into it was very much like the kind of life Jesus knew in heaven before he came.
All this brings us to a question. If Jesus hated life in this world, then did he also hate life in heaven before he came to earth and returned to heaven, and cast Satan and his angels out, thus purging heaven of all ungodliness? There was certainly something about life in heaven that Jesus hated, for when he returned to heaven, he made enormous changes there, purifying it, according to the author of Hebrews (9:23).
When Jesus prayed that the Father would restore glory to him, he said he was praying for “the glory that I used to have with you before the universe existed” (Jn. 17:5). Before this universe existed, the Son dwelt openly with the Father in supreme happiness (Prov. 8:22–31). After the universe was populated, in heaven and in earth, the Son was hidden by the Father, to be revealed at the appointed time. Repeatedly, in the book of Psalms and in the prophets, we find the hidden Son of God asking the Father to let him come to earth and teach men about the Father. For example: “Let me sing of the LORD’s eternal mercies! Let me make known with my mouth your faithfulness through all generations!” (Ps. 89:1).
How happy must the Son have been when the Father at last sent him to earth to be revealed, to be free to teach men, as the Son of God, about his Father – and to return to heaven and openly enjoy again the Father’s presence as His precious Son!