Who of us over 40 years of age hasn’t seen the old television series, Mission Impossible, with its international spies and agents in disguise fighting for freedom and the American way? The younger generation grew up with Tom Cruise, as Ian Hunt, and his hand-picked crew of loyal agents fighting terrorists and other bad guys. Though the odds stacked against them seem impossible, they always manage to pull through and save the day!
Imagine a scene akin to the popular Mission Impossible series or a James Bond movie. The following conversation takes place at headquarters, between the director, “O,” and his top agent, Alpha.
“O, you sent for me?”
“Yes, Agent Alpha, I have an important assignment for you. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to rescue a race of people languishing in bondage and misery for thousands of years. You will deliver a message of freedom and hope to one group in particular, infiltrating their ranks, living as one of them for more than thirty years before your mission is complete.”
“That sounds simple enough.”
“Yes, but there’s just one catch: This mission will cost you everything—your status, your wealth, even your life. Before all is said and done, these people will turn on you; they will falsely accuse you as a terrorist and subversive. They will beat you, publicly humiliate you, torture you, and finally brutally murder you. Are you still willing to go through with it?”
“I AM, if it means these people can be free.”
“Oh, they will be set free alright—at least some of them will. Unbeknownst to their cruel taskmaster, your faithful service will depose their tyrannical dictator and undermine his diabolical regime. What at first seems like a defeat for our side will be a resounding victory, instead. For you, my friend, have a secret weapon: power not only over disease, decay and bondage, but over death, as well. You will die, but three days later you will rise again!”
“Yes, indeed! What is more, you will appear to several of your loyal trainees, and you will then be able to explain to them our true strategy. They will subsequently take this message to all the world! It will spread, turning the tables entirely on our enemies. You will have started a revolution! Bit by bit, lives will be changed, prisoners will be set free, and we will take back from the thief what he wrangled from us so long ago!”
“Then most certainly I will do this—no matter what the cost! I love these people, and I want so much more for them than what their wicked ruler has allowed. I will complete my mission, and then return and make room for those who will come. Then they can join our team and enjoy the benefits of citizenship in this beautiful and perfect kingdom.”
“Bravo! I knew you were the man for the job! Prepare for the drop. We are placing you in cognito in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea—just as the intel we sent hundreds of years ago promised we would do.”
While it is not likely the conversation in heaven was quite so dramatic, our Lord did have to make a choice: “Do I stay here and enjoy the comforts and privileges as the Son of God, or do I go to earth to rescue a race of people who won’t even recognize Me or accept My message at first?” (Philippians 2:6-11, Isaiah 53) Thankfully, our Savior chose to disguise Himself as the Babe in Bethlehem, who grew to be the Rabbi who taught us the way to freedom. Then He sacrificed His own life to pay for the sin that separated us from a holy God (John 12:31-33, I Peter 3:18). In overcoming death by rising from the grave three days later, Jesus defeated the powers of darkness and ushered in a new order of truth and light (Hebrews 2:14-15, Colossians 1:10-14).
All who believe in Him become citizens of this amazing kingdom (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20-21). While we are on earth, we serve as His agents and ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:17-20) Someday, we will cross over to our eternal home in heaven.
This Christmas, may you ascertain the benefits of this “impossible mission” Jesus completed some 2000 years ago. And may those of you who know Him more diligently spread the message of freedom and hope that Alpha and Omega brought to our oppressed race so many centuries ago!
© 2007, by Deborah Schaulis