What it means to be ‘down to earth’

Published 8:53 am Friday, May 10, 2019

As I was travelling through Johnson City last week, I noticed a billboard on Interstate 26 for John Deere Tractors. It said, “Down to Earth.” Immediately, my mind went back to all the times I had heard someone use this phrase to describe another person. I have often used the phrase myself when referring to a person who was easy to talk to and who was practical. I began to think about God who left his home in heaven to come to earth and become human to save the world from their sins. We underestimate the power of the incarnation of Jesus, and its implications for us all. Jesus came down to earth for the sake of humanity!
I began to wonder about the origin of the phrase, “down to earth,” once I got home, so I researched online. Here is what I found on www.idioms.online, “This idiom may allude to angels or other celestial creatures coming down to earth or being ‘cast down’ to join mortal humans. It also may derive from the notion of the word of God being ‘brought down to earth’ so that humans could understand it.” The site went on to give a definition of the phrase: 1. (To be brought or to come) down to earth means to be brought back to reality; to become realistic or alert to the actual events going on around one. 2. (To be) down to earth means to be realistic, practical, and straightforward; to not be pretentious or shallow. I was amazed because I know Jesus came to this earth so he could be direct when dealing with us! Let’s take a closer look at that perspective using scripture.
John 1:1-3, 14 says, “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” These words by John let us know the Word of God which was Jesus Christ became flesh and dealt among men. He was Immanuel, God with us! The incarnation refers literally to the in-fleshing of the Son of God — putting on human flesh and becoming man. The doctrine of the incarnation says that the eternal second person of the Trinity took on humanity in the person of Jesus Christ!
It is clear enough from the New Testament that Jesus has a human body. “The Word became flesh” means at least this, and more. Jesus’s humanity is one of the most important aspects of Christianity. (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). Jesus was born (Luke 2:7). He grew (Luke 2:40, 52). He grew tired (John 4:6) and got thirsty (John 19:28) and hungry (Matthew 4:2). He became physically weak (Matthew 4:11; Luke 23:26). He died (Luke 23:46). And he had a real human body after his resurrection (Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27). Jesus came down to earth to take the curse of sin to cross of Calvary defeating death, hell, and the grave once and for all! He had to become a human and be tempted in all points of sin, yet he remained sinless, and became a perfect sacrifice.
Here is what the writer of Hebrews had to say in Hebrews 2:6-10, “6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Jesus was made lower than the angels and was sent to the earth with a purpose and a plan to restore the world back to the Father. A person could write on this topic for years and never truly cover it all, but I would like to look at a few reasons why the incarnation of Jesus was important to us all.
1. You can be human. The incarnation sanctifies our humanity. Humanity and divinity are not at odds, but complementary. God created humanity, and then became human. Humanity is good, made in the image of God. It is not a sin to be human. It is sin to rebel against God. Don’t feel guilty about being human; glory in it. This also means the gospel is relevant to our whole humanity. Not just our souls, but also our minds and our bodies.
2. You can be ordinary. The incarnation sanctifies the normalcy of our lives, like work, family, recreation, eating and exercising — all the normal, boring things we need to do every day to be human. Jesus lived three decades on earth in relative obscurity as a common man and laborer. Your life doesn’t need to feel spectacular. You are freed from the demand to be dramatic. Your life doesn’t need to be celebrated. We need only to celebrate Jesus! God himself walked the earth for thirty-some years and hardly anyone took notice. Much of his life from 12 years to 30 years old is completely silent. He was an ordinary human with an extraordinary purpose.
3. You are not alone in your pain. God himself knows what it’s like to suffer the pains and losses of life in a fallen world. Jesus knows what it’s like to be abandoned and betrayed. He knows what it’s like to suffer loss. He knows what it’s like to grieve as a human. A secondary point here is that you can be single. Jesus never married. God himself, when he became human, was not in an intimate relationship. The human life of Jesus is a testament that you don’t need marriage and intimacy to be fully human. Jesus experienced every struggle of life, and he knows exactly what you are going through at this very moment.
4. You can fight and defeat sin. In the incarnation, we see the possibility of living in holiness and righteousness. None of us is perfect like Jesus, and none of us will live from now until the end of today without some sinful attitude or action. However, what the incarnate life of Christ demonstrates for us that it is possible for humans, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to resist temptation and have victory over sin. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!
5. You can have empathy for others! Empathy is the ability to truly be present with another. It’s the ability to hold a safe space for others to feel their own emotions completely and to be able to understand their experience especially since we are led by the Holy Spirit. If we are down to earth, people can relate to us, and they can know that we truly care, and desire to understand their struggles. Here is what the Apostle Paul had to say in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” Paul, though a learned and educated man, became common and ordinary so he could win ordinary men and women to Jesus. He was down to earth, and never talked down to another person. If we want to win others to Jesus, we must be down to earth.
I am so thankful that God sent his one and only son down to earth to be a sacrifice for my sin! We have a Savior with human experience. He knows what it feels like to have the everyday problems of humanity. Jesus has been there and done that and believe me he can help us all if we will only allow him!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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