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Thu Sep 11, 2014
There really is a man upstairs
Some things are closer to the truth than we realize.
I can’t recall the last time I heard God referred to as “The Man Upstairs,” but I know I’ve heard it loads of times. It always seemed to me to be the way that non-Christians or folks who thought they were Christians referred to God. I’m sure you’ve heard something like this before:
“I almost ran out of gas! Seriously, I rolled into the station on fumes. But I made it!
I guess ‘The Man Upstairs’ is looking out for me today.”
Honestly, in the past when I heard someone refer to God this way, I automatically assumed that I was face-to-face with someone who was quasi-religious but basically clueless, someone who thought that God was sort of there.
Then, the other day it occurred to me that although those who refer to the Lord as “The Man Upstairs” probably don’t realize it, but that title is closer to the truth than most of us know.
A real man, really upstairs!
You see, the shocking truth is that there really is a man upstairs! A real man. Jesus, the God-man, has taken human flesh into the throne room of heaven. He is the ascended man. He is the man who has gone where human flesh has never gone before. He is Jesus the Jew, the wounded Suffering Servant, the Glorified King, and he’s seated at the right hand of God. Right now. And when we get to heaven, it will be a nail-scarred human hand that will reach out to greet us—a man’s hand.
And when we get to heaven, it will be a nail-scarred human hand that will reach out to greet us—a man’s hand.
How did this happen? How is it that there actually is a man upstairs?
When the preexistent Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, came to earth, he took to himself an actual human body and what the old confession writers called a “reasonable” soul. He became just like us: with body and soul, heart, mind, brain, blood, cells, nerve endings, hair, and senses. That means that 2,000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” a virgin girl named Mary, the Eternal Word entered into a female’s ovum and took to himself everything it means to be human—except sin (2 Cor. 5:21). It means that he had to gestate for about nine months. It means that he was born, placenta and all. He was cold and hungry, and contrary to the lovely Christmas carol, if the “cattle lowed” loudly enough, he probably cried.
He became just like us: with body and soul, heart, mind, brain, blood, cells, nerve endings, hair, senses.
He had to learn language. He had to grow in wisdom. The writer of Hebrews says that he had to “learn obedience by the things he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). How can God learn obedience? Only as a man. And then, when he writhed on the ground in agony at Gethsemane and uttered, “Not my will” (Luke 22:42), it was as a real man with a voice, a heart, and desires—a man who experienced life just like we do.
So, now you see, the next time you hear someone refer to “The Man Upstairs,” you’ll remember who that man is and what he’s done, so you can smile and say something like, “Yes, I too am so glad there really is a man upstairs—let me tell you his name!” And maybe you’ll have an opportunity to talk about him.
But whether or not you do, you’ll know that there is a man upstairs and better yet, if you believe, you’re seated upstairs with him (Eph. 2:6).