Time to Reset Your GPS!
How Jesus Goes Before Us Into the Heavens to Take Us There With Him—Every Day
Part 3 of a 5-Part Series
[Editor’s Note: In this five-part series of blog posts, David Bryant invites us to explore and experience God’s Son in whole new ways as the One who goes BEFORE us—leading the way in four directions: (1) into the FUTURE; (2) into the HEAVENS; (3) into the PROMISES; and (4) into the WORLD. This week’s installment gives your daily walk with Christ a whole new location—in more ways than one!]
Jesus has become our “GPS”!
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, leading the Apollo 11 mission, became the first person ever to stand on the moon. Millions around the globe watched on TV as he touched the lunar surface, declaring on behalf of the entire human race:
One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.
Apollo 11’s insignia was an eagle painted on the front of the spacecraft. In its first draft the Eagle held an olive branch in its beak; but finally, to avoid any appearance of a warlike image, the branch was placed in its talons.
In other words, NASA wanted us to understand that Armstrong’s triumph was meant to be a mission of peace, commissioned to bring the nations together around something larger than any of us and for the sake of all of us. It is interesting that the lunar module landed in the Sea of Tranquility and the landing spot was called Tranquility Base—both “peaceful” names.
In its dramatic display, the Apollo 11 mission provided us with a vivid picture of the second dimension of who Christ is as he goes before us in his supremacy.
For Christians, this means our Savior has relocated us every day to a place of peace (“shalom”) exceeding any moon landing!
The Bible calls our ultimate destination and address the “glory of God.”
Instead of the mapping technology known as GPS representing “Global Positioning System,” for Christians I suggest we let GPS stand for Jesus being God’s “Glory Positioning Son” because he positions us every day in the thick of God’s glory.
In this blog post, I want to share with you facets of the great adventure mapped out for you right now based on how Jesus has gone ahead of you into the very throne room of heaven. He’s there today in order to make God’s glory your permanent residence every moment of your walk with him.
A GPS That Will Direct You
Into the Real Meaning of Life
Let’s take a closer look at Jesus as God’s GPS, his “Glorious Positioning Son.” Unlike the GPS in your car that helps navigate you only from one earthbound site to another, our Savior, after dying and rising again, entered the splendor of the everlasting Kingdom. He preceded us into the heavens to prepare the way for us to follow him. But then by the Holy Spirit, he comes to guide us there, and welcome us there, and deposit us there—to position us at the very center of the universe where we are alive with him right now.
I’m not talking about what happens after we die. I’m talking about what is happening with us this very hour. I’m talking about the ultimate realization of Armstrong’s famous moon message, in this sense:
The Son of Man—as representative of a fallen race of sinners—took one unparalleled, unrepeatable “step” that changed everything. The single act of his death for us and before us now makes it possible for countless believers from every people, nation, and tongue on planet earth—past, present and future—to follow after him “into the Father’s glory.”
This happens for us when we take what is for any of us one incredibly “giant leap”—the leap of faith toward our Lord Jesus that brings us God’s salvation. When we do this, we are instantly elevated with Jesus into the heights of the holy embrace of the triune God!
To say it another way: Jesus’ shed blood on the cross reconciles us back to God, making peace where once there was only enmity between us. Consequently, the heavens—which is a word that stands for the full manifestation of God’s glorious, personal presence—have now become for all believers our cosmic “Base of Tranquility,” our place of peace and safety without end.
Yes, Jesus is God’s “Glory Positioning Son.” Jesus is our GPS.
Here’s an interesting fact: Jesus’ redemptive breakthrough recalls the story of a secret held close during the Apollo flight, revealed only many years later. The other astronaut piloting the lunar landing, Buzz Aldrin, was a devout Jesus follower. Privately inside the module, while monitoring the controls as Armstrong explored the moonscape, Buzz worshipfully celebrated the Lord’s Supper, parked high above earth on the moon. Later the chalice he used was archived in a special display at his home church.
Unintentionally, his observance announced to the solar system the transforming impact of the work of Christ for the whole creation—especially how our King has opened up before believers a way to dwell with him in the heavens.
As Buzz focused on God’s Son in those historic moments up in space, his act was the very first time the gospel message was proclaimed from earth to the moon and back again—the powerful truth about Jesus who is God’s way of positioning us as Jesus goes before us into the heavens in order to place us where he reigns.
How Jesus Takes Us With Him Daily
Into the Glories of the Kingdom of Heaven
In his widely popular Easter hymn, Charles Wesley wrote: “Soar we now where Christ has led, following our exalted head.”
In those few words, Wesley is reminding us that Jesus, who descended for us to carry out his work of salvation, is the same one who was raised from the dead in order to ascend for us into the heavens, doing so ahead of us. Therefore, as Wesley celebrates, we get to soar with him where he has gone—doing so every day as we give ourselves to follow him.
Again, this is why it is so appropriate for us to claim that Jesus has become for us God’s GPS—“Glory Positioning Son.”
Never forget this: We do not go from Jesus to the Father. Rather, we go in him and with him to the Father. In principle, when Jesus ascended to his throne and entered into the majesty of the heavens, he took us with him.
At this very moment, he is sitting at the right hand of the Father. So he does not have to call from afar on our behalf; he merely needs to “whisper” in the Father’s ear (as it were) and the Kingdom’s glorious treasury becomes available to us.
The Christian life ought to feel to us like every day we’re soaring!
Let me sum up these major implications of this marvelous demonstration of the supremacy of Christ in our lives:
1. Now we’re home safe. From the moment Jesus entered into glory, that place became our home too. Wherever Christ has preceded us we may safely go, even into the presence of the eternal, holy, triune God of the universe—because Jesus is our GPS.
2. We know where to meet up. His ascension makes the person of our living Lord Jesus himself the constant and cordial point where we can enjoy fellowship with our Creator. Jesus is our GPS.
Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? (Romans 8, NLT).
3. We’re welcomed by a gracious host. Our exalted Savior daily hosts us in the Father’s magnificent “banquet hall” where the feast never ends because the Father placed us there the moment we became united to his Son, never to leave. Jesus is our GPS.
Immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us . . . . Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2, MSG).
4. Jesus provides with us unlimited, unrestricted access. From his place of supremacy, Jesus gives us unhindered entry into God’s presence forever. He grants us permission to enter. He makes all of our “introductions” for us.
Therefore, daily we may act as if we have physically entered into the throne room of eternity, where we’re invited to freely walk into direct engagement with the Father the same way the Son is engaged with the Father already. “[W]e have a friend who speaks to the Father for us. He is Jesus Christ, the Blameless One (1 John 2, NIRV).
Jesus is our GPS.
5. Our public defender has prevailed. Christ is our “friend in court” because his blood secured the “not guilty” verdict for us before the Judge of ALL, allowing us to face him unafraid. What an unprecedented GPS Jesus is!
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ . . . . He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2, NIV).
6. We will always fit in. Christ assumed our whole response to God perfectly for us, doing so ahead of us. He did so by incarnation, by a perfect life, by crucifixion, by resurrection, and by victorious ascension to be our Sovereign Leader forever.
Then, he took all of this finished work of salvation with him, ahead of us, for us, into the Father’s house and laid it down, on our behalf, before the Father’s throne. As our Royal Priest, he comes before the face of God in our name and in our place, so that we can enter into the glory of God in his name and in his place.
We’re positioned there at this very moment by God’s unfailing, saving GPS.
7. So the unending family reunion swells! In point of fact, because Jesus has gone before us into the heavens, we are now invited into the “Trinity unity” that existed before anything was made. We are enfolded into the inner life of the triune God because our Redeemer has made a way for us, a place for us, going before us.
In other words, the extraordinary, intimate relationship Jesus himself enjoys with the Father is now open to us and shared with us. It was his first; but now he has made it ours, as well.
In fact, it is as if when Jesus’ tongue speaks to the Father it becomes our tongue. When his eyes look on God’s splendor, they have become our eyes. Dwelling in his hands, we now are allowed to offer ourselves to the Father as living sacrifices for Jesus’ sake.
GPS for sure.
8. We’ve been given a total change of address. In Christ we have gained far more than was lost when Adam sinned. Before sin entered the world, Adam walked with God in the cool of the day in a well-defined garden. However, forgiven and reborn in Christ we walk into the very center of the heavens, to dwell at the very throne of God, to thrive in the blaze of his presence and power.
Ours is a fellowship with the Father that has no end and no limits because it is the very same fellowship that first belonged to the Son before anything was ever created, which now Jesus shares with all who are alive in him.
Our GPS tells us that our names have been written in “the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21). That’s your permanent address now.
How the Book of Hebrews
Reveals Jesus as God’s GPS for Us
Jesus reigns as a king who is also a priest, simultaneously. His person and his priesthood are forever inseparable. Only because he serves in both roles are we delivered from spiritual impotency so as to freely pursue all that the heavens hold for those who belong to him.
More than any other book of Scripture, Hebrews abounds with insights on this BEFORE dimension of Christ’s supremacy. Throughout it testifies to ways Christ goes ahead of us to open the heavens to us and bring us there with him. Consider these examples:
- Hebrews 3 – Pioneer: Like an apostle would do, Jesus pioneers the way for us into the heavens; and now like a high priest, he is waiting there to greet us.
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest (NIV).
- Hebrews 6 –Vanguard: Jesus is our forerunner into God’s presence where he guarantees our unqualified welcome there.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek (NIV).
- Hebrews 7 – High Priest: Jesus takes responsibility for us for one primary reason—to plead our case forevermore in heaven’s courtroom so we can always abide there without any fear.
But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens (NIV).
- Hebrews 9 – Mediator: When he took it all into the Holy Place, Jesus’ redemptive work—his incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—gives us free and permanent access into that very same location.
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation . . . he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption . . . . now to appear for us in God’s presence . . . . he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself (NIV).
- Hebrews 4 – Advocate: As our ascended and reigning High Priest, every day and all day long Jesus invites us to come boldly to join him before God’s throne.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (NIV).
- Hebrews 10 – Waymaker: Our great High Priest made a way for us into the heavens when there was no way—when we had no hope of finding a way—and invites us to take full advantage of how he has gone before us.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (NIV).
Jesus Is Like the Brooklyn Bridge for You
Let me conclude by switching metaphors on you. It brings all of the truths of this blog post together.
I don’t live far from the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. As a renowned crossing over the East River into Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge provides travelers access into “the Big Apple” with all the sights and lights it holds.
You might even say the bridge—placed there generations ago for anyone who would come afterward and want to use it—sort of “mediates” a way for people to cross over into what is, for most newcomers, the excitement of a lifetime.
Even so, like the Brooklyn Bridge, Jesus is our bridge that “mediates”—that crosses over—the Abyss created by sin that separates us from God. Furthermore, he is also the highway on the bridge by which we access all that God has for us in Christ.
God our Savior . . . wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people (1 Timothy 2, NIV, emphasis added).
At this very second, the supremacy of Christ is powerfully displayed by how he “bridges” or “mediates,” through his reign, a way that lifts God’s people up to and positions them in the heavens.
As our bridge, Jesus has transferred all who belong to him over the Abyss, from the domain of darkness into his realm of day (see Colossians 1). He has dislocated us from the fallen race of Adam with its tyranny of sin and death and judgment to come, and he has relocated us into a new heaven, new earth, and new city, as he waits to someday consume this current creation with the triumphs of his grace (Romans 5; Revelation 21).
As our bridge, Christ precedes us into the holy Father’s presence to present us without reservations before the forces of divine glory and the fullness of God’s grace.
And then he keeps on interceding for us, always going before us, so that we can be confident in the Father’s promise to never withhold anything that’s good for us from those who belong to Jesus (Romans 8).
In his spectacular supremacy, Jesus breaks open a “road in the wilderness” (Isaiah 40) so we can cross over and pursue the eternal treasures that are true, good, beautiful, righteous, holy, and filled with the Father’s love. It all belongs to us because, going ahead of us, Christ has received all authority to invite us into all that surrounds him.
We need only to trust him, embrace him, live in him—and forever follow him. “Where I am there will my servants be also” (John 12).
All praise to God’s “Glory Positioning Son”!
Suggestion: Dig deeper into this truth by downloading David’s one-hour audio teaching on “Christ BEFORE Us” taken from The Christ Institutes. It’s free!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com