On Sunday, October 15, the Red Bull Stratos project culminated with Felix Baumgartner’s incredible skydive from nearly 24 miles above the ground. It was incredible. Records were broken, people were awestruck, and energy drink addicts everywhere were jumping up and down from excitement (or a Red Bull high).
But did you realize that Baumgartner wasn’t the first guy to leap from the heavens and land on earth? In fact, the first guy came from an even greater height!
My wife and I were sitting in our hotel room in Las Vegas watching the whole event unfold on Sunday. I had the live YouTube stream pulled up on an iPad. For over 2 hours we sat, along with 8 million others to watch this historical event. Judah lost interest after about 2 minutes, but Rina and I were captivated. Admittedly, I was a little more into it than she was.
The build up was intense. As the ascent began you could feel the excitement coming through the screen. When the first hiccup with Baumgartner’s mask happened the tension built. Were they going to have to abort?
The mission continued and the anticipation grew as fast as the air balloon could climb. By the time the capsule reached the optimal height, I had butterflies in my stomach for him. As they began running through the checklist for the jump, I think I only had 3 fingernails left to chew. It was pretty tense!
Before I knew it, the moment was at hand. Baumgartner took his place on his platform high above the earth, looked down and said,
“Sometimes you have to get up really high to realize how small you are. I’m going home now.”
Then as he took the step off of his platform, the whole world held it’s breath.
Baumgartner plummeted through the atmosphere reaching speeds as high as 833mph (Mach 1.24), breaking the sound barrier. He free-fell for over 4 minutes before successfully pulling his parachute. Then, finally he landed safely, on his feet, before falling to his knees and raising his hands in victory.
The First Time
2,000 years earlier, there was an even greater story of a guy who stepped off his platform, high above the heavens, and landed on earth.
For the first guy, there were no camera crews, no media coverage, no fancy gadgets, no Red Bull, and no parachute. Just a man– a God-man, on a rescue mission to save his beloved.
His name was Jesus of Nazareth and things have never been the same since.
Jesus stood upon his platform– much higher than the reaches of our atmosphere– where he was seated above all. He looked down, seeing how small we were and said,
“Sometimes you have to get down really low for people to realize how big your love is. I’m coming to take you home now.”
Maybe he didn’t say that exactly– but I’m sure the thought process was similar.
He came down (John 6:38), stepping off of his platform, placing himself at our level and allowing himself to be put to the ultimate shame, and pay the ultimate price for the ultimate display of love. He didn’t do it for fame. He didn’t do it to sell advertising space. He did it so that we could drop to our knees and raise our hands in victory.
Not the Last Time
And in case you didn’t hear, he’s planning a second jump– Jesus, that is. This time, there will be a lot more than 8 million people watching.
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” -Revelation 1:7 (ESV)
Did you watch the Red Bull Stratos event live? What are your thoughts? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
[This post was inspired by Mark Driscoll's "Jesus Beats Skydiving".]