Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.
Awake O Sleeper

Awake O Sleeper

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (John 1:1)  And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us … (John 1:14)

Imagine, Jesus, the Son, the Word, with the Father, volunteering to become like you and me; choosing to leave heaven and come to earth.  Think about it.

Jesus, though in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped (and held onto), but [he] emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:6-8)

The God-Man, the new Adam, first born of the new race, became just like us in every way except sin.
He left heaven, came to earth, in human form, to show us the Father, to offer his life as a sacrifice for us. to exchange his life for our lives.

Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53)  He was whipped, beaten, marred, stripped naked, publicly humiliated and crucified for our salvation.  This God-Man, laid down his life for ours, with legions of angels waiting in the wings, ready for his command.

What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?

And what about the Father?  I too often overlook what it must have been like for him.

The Son is the radiance of the Father’s glory and the exact representation of His being.  (Hebrews 1:3)
We regularly reflect on Jesus’ agony in the garden, scourging and tortious death.  What about the Father?

What would it be like for you to give up your son or daughter, to allow him or her, to be abused and tortured while you watched close by, knowing all the time that you could stop it.  Your son or daughter, in exchange for the life of your enemies.  This stretches our minds beyond capacity.

We think, well, God is God, and he didn’t feel it like we would feel it.  Didn’t He?  What kind of Father would he be?

A better father than me.

Have you ever tried to imagine what Jesus thought about as he anticipated his own death?
We think that because he was God, he knew what would happen.  We conveniently forget that he lived and died as the God-Man.  He emptied himself of his divinity; he suffered and died willing bound with our limitations.

Jesus knew and declared that he is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  He raised others from the dead as well.  Nevertheless, he laid down his torn body, resting in peace and the hope of the resurrection.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety.  For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay.  You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness forever.  (Psalm 16:9-11)

Of course the Word, knew the prophetic word.  He knew this passage applied to his life, death and resurrection,  But he walked through it, step by step by step, empty of his divinity, in the form of a slave, in the likeness of men; and as a man, he lay down in hope.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for Jesus at the precise moment of the resurrection.  Can you
imagine what it he must have felt?  The stone is rolled away, light streams in, life pours in, and in an instant he is awake.  Can you envision the smile on his face, the gladness in every pore of his body, as he whispers to his Father, “it really works”!

Meanwhile today is Holy Saturday.  The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  One of my favorite days of the year.

Have you ever considered what may have happened the day before the resurrection?  Maybe it went like this:

Something strange is happening — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.  The earth trembles and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began.  God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone in search for our first parents, as for lost sheep.  Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve … He took [Adam] by the hand and raised him up, saying:  “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.  Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.  I order you, O sleeper, to awake.  I did not create you to be held prisoner in hell.  Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.  Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.  Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.  For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead.  For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed … in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.  See the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image.  On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.  See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side.  My side has healed the pain in yours.  My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell.  The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place.  The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.  I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven … [t]he throne formed by the cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.  The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.  The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.  (From ancient homily on Holy Saturday)

What a mighty God we serve!  What a great Father we have.  Nothing is left out; nothing is overlooked. Everything is prepared for us.

Those of you who have followed my my blog, know that I am fond of the name “Rocketman”, and you know why it means so much to me.  But you should understand, if you don’t already, Jesus is the pre-eminent “Rocketman”.  He is our first born brother. He is the first to rise from the dead into the resurrection; he is first to lift off from the earth.  He is the first to ascend to the right hand of the Father.  He is first in every way.

Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

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