“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14).
Today is the day after Easter. Many of us are back in our normal routines. Life seems to be going on as it was before. There are tragedies in the morning news, traffic on the highways, and upcoming deadlines at work. Children need to be attended to, house chores need to be done, and bills need to be paid. And underneath our familiar outer world, our inner life can also seem the same. We are still at times sabotaged by fear, betrayed by desire, and disappointed by hope. Confusion and pain seem more real than joy and love.
Can the wonder of Easter break into the jagged edges of our world? There is a way it can.
It is the living presence of Jesus Himself. He is alive and on the move. His resurrection is the beginning of the end of death. It is the dawning of a new reality. It is the remaking of all creation. It is the healing of all things. And it is happening now, on this day after Easter. But so many are asleep — unaware and even uninterested. But what happens when a man awakens to the presence of Jesus?
First, he awakens to see Jesus as the hinge of all history. All world events, national news, and neighborhood happenings are moving toward one goal. It is the summing up of all things with Jesus as the head. He is behind the scenes, casting His subversive power on human affairs so that the kingdoms of this world will become His. A man who lives in this stream of thinking moves beyond fear and confusion over the troubling things in the world. Instead he begins to ponder, “I wonder what Jesus is up to in all of this?” Even if he doesn’t have the answer, the question is itself a revelation. Jesus is always up to something. He is always building His kingdom. When a man awakens to this in his outer world, he moves forward with confidence and hope despite the unknowns.
Second, he awakens to see Jesus as active in his relationships. Jesus is calling out to all men and women, at all places, in all stages of development, in all circumstances. He is always seeking, always wooing, always rousing. When a man becomes aware of His ongoing activity, he no longer views everyone around him from just his own vantage point. He now has another one. It is Jesus Himself. Whether it’s his family of origin, his wife and children, or his friends and work associates, he sees them differently. These are ones for whom Christ died. They are ones who bear His image. These are the ones whom He loves. And he ponders again, “I wonder what Jesus is up to in their lives?” The question provokes compassion and boldness. He can move into even difficult relationships knowing that Someone is already there working.
Finally, he awakens to see Jesus pulsating in his own inner world. All of his fears and anxieties become opportunities to hear again Jesus’ word: “Do not be afraid.” All of his ambitions and hopes becomes places to recalibrate around Jesus’ kingdom, not his own. All of his desires for love and affirmation become centered around the One who calls us His brothers. And all of his longings for truth and justice, for beauty and glory, for peace and order, for validation and liberation, for unity and oneness — all of them and more are being touched by the resurrected Jesus, present in his heart, present in his mind, present in his deepest soul. He can ask, “What are You up to in my life today?” And he will always find new answers.
When Christ shines on a man, nothing is the same, nothing is untouched, nothing stays asleep. He is the pioneer of this new awakening. He is the vanguard of the new Adam. He is the forefront of the new creation. And He invites each of us to join Him today.
What do you say to such an invitation?
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