The answer to the above question depends upon how many people are now in your wake. Words is fascinating, ain’t they? That is especially true when we realize that GOD is the Author of language, the medium by which He intends us to know Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the medium by which we are to make them known to a dying world.
Ever thought about the word “wake”? As a verb, it means: “to be roused from sleep.” As a noun, it means: (1) “the path of anything that has passed by” or (2) “a watch or vigil [state of wakefulness] by the body of a dead person before burial.” As for the first definition as a noun, isn’t the “wake” behind a boat like the boat having awakened the still water?
During this month of April, when, in seasonal regions, creation awakens with the new life of Spring, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only human being who has ever conquered man’s most relentless enemy—death. Because he did so, those who believe that and make him Lord may never have a pre-funeral “wake” as cited in the above question. Why? Because you might never die! Well, you’re not dead yet are you? And the Lord Jesus could show up before you finish reading this! So there may never be anyone mourning your death. That’s cool, because as our ever-popular bumper sticker says: DEATH SUCKS!
Have you ever thought about how many people Jesus left in his wake? Only God knows how many Jesus touched, healed, and enlightened in one way or another. Yet, I would like to suggest that there was only one person at his wake. How so? Because Scripture indicates that this one man may well have been the only person who believed Jesus when he said he would awaken from the dead after three days.
It was Joseph of Arimathea who went to Pilate and persuaded him to give him Jesus’ body. It was Joseph who had started some time before that to have a tomb hewn out of the rock in a prominent place in Jerusalem. And it was Joseph who, instead of embalming the body according to custom, just wrapped it in a cloth and laid it in the tomb. Reading this link will show you that Joseph’s obedience to God’s Word made possible the blaring witness of the empty tomb that became the talk of the town and an indisputable testimony to the Resurrection!
It is entirely possible that Joseph had no idea of the magnitude of his actions in the eternal scheme of things. The same can be said of Stephen, another flesh-and-blood, flawed human whose obedience to God was very likely the spark that ignited the heart of perhaps the greatest Christian ever. To read an inspiring article about Stephen by Brandy Maffit Snider, click here.
Acts 6:9–8:2 tells of Stephen being seized by the Jewish religious leaders and stoned to death for the miracles and wonders he did on behalf of the Lord Jesus. Stephen is the only person in Scripture who, like Jesus, asked God to forgive those who were putting him to death. Furthermore, while they were stoning him, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” This is similar to Jesus praying to God to receive his spirit while he hung on the cross. Stephen’s last conscious act was to entrust himself to his living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As Stephen was dying, he said,“Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Scripture often speaks of Jesus being “seated at the right hand of God,” but nowhere else is it said that Jesus is standing at the right hand of God. Clearly, the implication is that the Lord Jesus Christ stood up out of respect and admiration for this man who so faithfully and powerfully represented him unto a martyr’s death. If that doesn’t send chills up and down your spine, you better check your pulse.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this unique and poignant account is recorded in Acts 8:1: “And Saul was there, giving approval to his [Stephen’s] death….” Think about it: Saul was among those to whom Stephen’s face looked like “…the face of an angel” (6:15), and he witnessed this entire horrible incident. Acts 8:3 says that Saul then began to destroy the Church. Very possibly, the guilt he felt about Stephen’s murder prompted him to lash out even more at the Christians as it gnawed at him inwardly.
Acts 9:1 says that Saul was “…still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples…” when he headed out on the road to Damascus with more arrest warrants. It was at “high noon” on the dusty trail to Damascus that bounty-hunter Saul’s journey was interrupted by a man standing in the middle of the road: “Draw, Saul!” Saul drew quickly, but The Man drew like lightning and fired a love bullet straight into his heart. As Saul went down, he wanted to know who had bested him. As The Man lifted him up, he said, “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting. Knock it off. Go into town and I’ll be in touch. We’ve got places to go and people to see.”
So began a new life for yet another human being who had previously left a wake of destruction behind him. You and I may not have had such a dramatic initial encounter with The Man, Jesus Christ, but his calling for us is no less real than it was for Saul. Like Joseph of Arimathea, like Stephen, and like Saul, we too can make an impact on the world that is far beyond what we comprehend now. If we are moving forward with the Lord, we too can leave a wake of deliverance. The key to doing so is cleaving unto Jesus Christ and fervently seeking his wholeness and his will. He will carry us through whatever trials and tribulations we must face as we represent him to those lost in darkness.
A quick glance at the world today shows that evil is out of control. Satan and his demonic hordes are wreaking havoc on innocent people around the globe. It is only the Christian Church, members of the Body of Christ, who stand between him and total world domination (2 Thess. 2:7). Let’s make the most of the opportunity we have to stand for Christ and use the abilities he has given us to bring Truth and Love to those who are drowning in a sea of tumult.
Elizabeth and I were looking at James 4:1–10 recently, and we found it most sobering given that the same “sinful desires battle” within each of us and we have the same inner tendency to be “friends with the world” rather than with God. In light of the current state of the world, I encourage you to read it now and take heed to its message as it is relevant to you. As I understand that message, which is echoed by many other Scriptures, it is: “Hey! Get serious! Time is running out. People are dying. Quit messing around and grow up! If not now, when? If not I, who?” That was certainly Jesus’ mindset, don’t you think?
In the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is a big deal here in the USA, fighters employ about ten martial arts in an attempt to gain fame and fortune. If one of the combatants wants to quit due to a submission hold, he indicates that by tapping his hand on the mat. Doing so is called “tapping out.” Of course, the Ultimate Fighting Champion of all time has already been determined—by GOD, who is looking forward to one day crowning him before the whole world. “And the winner is… JESUS CHRIST!”
While he was agonizing in Gethsemane about the most critical decision ever made by a human being, Jesus didn’t give up. While he spiritually, mentally, and physically fought his way through 40 hours of torture and his excruciating death on the Cross, Jesus didn’t tap out! As a result, God has highly exalted him and given him the Name above all names (Phil. 2:8–10). One day, after Jesus displays his fighting skills in the Battle of Armageddon, the world will recognize him as The Champion of Champions.
The Living Truth Fellowship is all about teaching the integrity and accuracy of the Word of God so as to equip Christians with the “arms and ammunition” (Eph. 6:10–17) to magnify the Lord Jesus in this war zone known as the world. We are living epistles, known and read by all men, so let’s act like it. Let’s give people a good read!
I encourage you to take advantage of the unique resources TLTF has to enhance the quality of your life and help you leave a wake of deliverance as the legacy of your unique life. How many people will you awaken as you pass through each day living for the Lord?