His entire existence in one panoramic image.
Here it is:
In that above image, the states in Jesus’s life are as follows, starting on the left: Preincarnate Son of God in heaven → Kenosis → SERVANTHOOD → Birth → Life → Death → Burial → (Hades?) → EXALTATION → Resurrection → Ascension → Session in heaven → Return to earth
Here is a more elaborate explanation.
In heaven he is the preincarnate, eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity.
His kenosis means self-emptying of his glory or privileges in heaven, but not his divine attributes. He humbled himself in the form of a human servant—hence Servanthood. Many theologians call it the State of Humiliation.
Here are the four states or events in the Servanthood stage (Phil. 2:6-8):
He was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
He lived a sinless life and fulfilled the requirements of the law. In his servanthood or humbling, he did not lose his divine attributes, but he voluntarily surrendered his will to the will of the Father, so he did not display his divine attributes to their fullest, all the time. They were hidden in his full humanity, until the Father willed to reveal them in certain miracles, for example.
His death and burial are the ultimate form of humiliation and servanthood. God loves us so much that he sent his Son to humble himself to the point of death, even on the cross.
The Bible hints that he went to hell to preach to spirits (Acts 2:37; Rom. 10:6-7; Eph. 4:8-9; 1 Pet. 3:18-20, 4:6). It is put in parentheses because some theologians reject the idea.
His Exaltation comes in four (or five) states or events (Phil. 2:9-11).
His resurrection means he bodily rose from the grave. His body was transformed into an immortal, glorified, nail-scarred one, but he could still eat or drink with it. His identity remained the same—the same Jesus whom the disciples knew before his resurrection.
In his ascension, he went up into heaven. He is the God-man who has a glorified, transformed, and nail-scarred body.
Session or sitting means he is seated at the right hand of the Father, signifying his victory and highest status, and receiving the governance over all the Church and the entire universe. This governance will be fully manifested to us at his return to earth.
As King and Lord and Judge, he will return to earth in power and glory, his divine attributes in full display.
Many theologians prefer to see some of the states as more integrated rather than successive.
We may therefore understand the states of Christ as exaltation in humiliation within a broader progression through humiliation. ‘Exaltation in humiliation’ (with simultaneous interconnection) breaks down the typical dichotomy by demonstrating that Christ is exalted supremely in his redemptive suffering, the apex of which is his death on the cross. ‘exaltation through humiliation’ (with successive progression) maintains a general progression from humiliation to exaltation while at the same time showing how they overlap and are interrelated. (EDT, p. 842, emphases original)
So how can I get to know Jesus more deeply?
This is his entire existence. The upsweeping arrow may not please the skeptical, but it puts things in perspective. It reveals God’s entire plan of salvation. It reveals Christ’s humanity and deity.
Our life of worship can be clearer because we can see his entire existence laid out before us.
Throughout these states, even during his State of Humiliation or Servanthood, he was and will always be the Second Person of the Triunity, from eternity past and into eternity future.
Written by James Malcolm
ARTICLES IN “DO I REALLY KNOW JESUS?” SERIES
1. Do I Really Know Jesus? His Entire Existence in One Image