Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
We can only imagine the joy of heaven when our Lord returned there after His work on earth was done. Thirty-three years previous, the inhabitants of that glorious place had looked with what must have been stunned awe as the Eternal Word of God laid aside His Divine glory and privileges and assumed the position of a servant, having the appearance of sinful flesh. They had witnessed Him "growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men." They saw all His troubles in the world and wondered at the blindness and cruelty of humanity that He "came into His own and His own did not receive Him." One of them was sent to strengthen Him in Gethsemane, but at Calvary there were none sent to give Him aid or comfort as He "poured out His soul unto death," becoming "obedient to death, even the death of the cross." Though they were the angels of God, they were not privy to all that God would do, and the thought of their beloved Maker lying dead in the tomb must have wrenched their hearts just as it tore apart the hearts of His disciples.
But they had also witnessed His resurrection and maybe wondered why He did not rise all the way to heaven right then and take His rightful place at the right hand of His Father.
But now the day has come for The Victor to return home. And how heaven rejoices at it! It must have rejoiced the Father to see His Son come home. Those angels who glorified God for the Lord's birth in Bethlehem no doubt spoke as gloriously of His return "to His place." And Abraham, who in times past, saw Christ's day and rejoiced in what he saw must have had still greater joy at the sight of the Lord's enthronement. Jacob sees the fulfillment of His blessing to his son, Judah, for Shiloh has come! With joy, David rests in the presence of his Shepherd; with joy, Solomon bows before His greater; with joy, all the prophets see their word fulfilled. I cannot imagine that heaven ever had before or since a more glorious and happy day than that day.
But, of all those who rejoiced that day, none could have rejoiced more than our Lord, Himself. He entered His rest. His labor was done, and He is home.
The end of our workdays almost always bring joy to us for we can, for a while, lay down our burdens. But our joy at such times is tempered by the knowledge that we must rise with tomorrow's sun and go to work again. Our work is never truly done.
But the Lord goes home and rests, not from exhaustion, but in the full strength of one who has done his work and done it well! It is finished! Never will a new day dawn bringing with it new labor for Jesus. He rests in the full assurance that not the least part of His work remains undone and that all of it was done with perfection. No one else in all of creation has entered such a rest.
That is, no one else but those who have trusted the Lord, for "we who have believed enter into rest" (Hebrews 4.3). And it is not their rest their enter, but His rest for, "he that enters HIS rest..." (Hebrews 4.10). Everyone who trusts the Lord Jesus enters into Christ's rest - the rest of a job done and done well.
And for this, we rejoice!