"Awake, O sleeper, rise from death, And Christ shall give you light; So learn His love, its length and breadth, Its fullness, depth, and height.
"Then walk in love as Christ has loved, Who died that He might save; With kind and gentle hearts forgive As God in Christ forgave."
Jesus had a way of getting people moving. He would first heal them and then send them on their way, sometimes sending them on a mission of some kind. Jesus forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, healing him, and sending him with the words, "Rise, pick up your bed and go home" (Matthew 9:6b). A leper was healed and sent to show himself to the priest with the proper offering for cleansing (see Mark 1:40-44). When Jesus commanded the demons to leave a tormented man, the man who had been healed begged to stay with Jesus. Instead, Jesus sent him on a mission to go home and tell his friends what the Lord had done for him (see Mark 5:19). Jesus healed Simon Peter's mother-in-law, who chose her own mission, rising up to serve the Lord (see Matthew 8:15).
Today, the healing and the sending continue. In Baptism we are united with Jesus in His death and buried with Him. By God's grace through faith we receive the healing forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the cross. In Baptism the Spirit calls to us: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14b). In the power of the Holy Spirit, we are raised up with Jesus to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4b).
Awakened to new life in Christ Jesus, born again as a new creation, we are sent on our way as people on a mission. We follow Jesus, who set the pattern for our steps in a life of faith: "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you ... Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 4:32, 5:2). We have come to know the love of Jesus, "its length and breadth, its fullness, depth and height." We are sent out to love others as Jesus loved us, to give ourselves in compassionate service to others, as Jesus gave Himself up for us. We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. When our love for others does not reach the fullness or depth that it should, we humbly repent, asking that Jesus would heal and forgive us and once again send us out in His service. We rise up, restored and forgiven to walk in newness of life, as Jesus gets us moving and sends us out on His mission.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, heal and forgive me and send me out to witness for You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death," which is number 697 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you sense a God-given path or direction for your life? Can you elaborate?
2. How does God come to us and motivate us, so to speak, when we lack faith and direction?
3. Following Jesus means living like Him—loving, serving, and forgiving others. How can we get better at doing these things?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"