PREPARATION: lighting the candle and readying myself to listen.
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
Dr. Robert Greene Lee was the son of a sharecropper, born in a log cabin, earned a doctorate in international law, authored 56 books, and was lauded by Billy Graham as “one of the towering giants of the 20th century.” Dr. Lee told of his first trip to the Holy Land and of his visit to what is called Gordon’s Calvary, where some believe Jesus was crucified. Dr. Lee expressed eagerness to climb the skull shaped hill, but his Arab guide tried to discourage him. However, Dr. Lee was determined, and hurried to the top of the hill with guide in tow. Then, at the top of the hill, Dr. Lee removed his hat, and was deeply moved by where he stood. “Excuse me sir, have you been here before?” his guide asked him. “Oh yes, I have been here before,” Dr. Lee replied. “I was here 2,000 years ago.”
Dr. Lee certainly knew the Bible and today’s scripture telling of the believer having been crucified with Christ, raised with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenly places. Everywhere in the New Testament we see this intimate oneness of Christ and the believer. We have died with Christ to our sin, raised with Him to new life, and enthroned with Him in authority and power.
The apostle Paul so wanted to communicate the wonder of what God has done for us, that he coined three Greek verbs by adding the Greek prefix, syn (“together with”):
“made us alive together with Christ” — synzoopoieo
“raised us up with him” – synegeiro
“seated us with him” – synkathizo
Paul heralds the good news that what God did in Christ, he did for all who believe in Him. We are thereby ‘made alive together with Christ’, ‘raised up with Him’, and ‘seated with Him’ in heavenly places. Christ’s resurrection and ascension are the basis for our present spiritual resurrection and ascension, and as well, our future bodily resurrection and ascension with Him. Church Father John Chrysostom succinctly expressed the wonder of our life “in Christ” as the Head of the Church: “The Head being seated at God’s right hand, the Body also sits there with Him.” (John Chrysostom, Homily 3 on Ephesians)
So today, we are risen spiritually with Christ to new life, and ascended with Him spiritually to the heavenly places of all authority and power. We pray and look for the day when Christ comes for us and we are bodily raised and ascended: “When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). This is the promise of Immanuel!
CONVERSATION: I talk with God about the thoughts and feelings stirring within.
REST: I take time to be present to Immanuel who is present to me.