With embarrassment I confess that for many years I subconsciously visualized myself as a type of Jedi knight fighting an overwhelming kingdom of darkness with my lightsaber. I felt myself to be quite skilled, bravely entering into the belly of the beast many a time to rescue the perishing.
Nevertheless, the inescapable fatalism and exhaustion that this “against all odds” perspective engendered, threatened more than once to crush and suffocate me.
For decades I subconsciously tolerated this toxic and ruinous lie. I truly needed a Christ Awakening.
As I soaked in David Bryant’s teaching on the Ascension in The Christ Institutes Video Series, I experienced a kind of veil lifting. My Christ Awakening had begun. In prior years, I had often experienced a similar revitalization in times of deep worship, but when I put down my guitar and picked up my lightsaber, the Dark Side seemed to quickly envelop me once again. My larger vision of Christ kept slipping away from me. Let me tell you why.
Living as if the Ascension Never Occurred
My worldview was that of a heaven filled with God’s glory but a physical universe dominated by darkness. I lived as if the Ascension never occurred. As a pastor serving for 25 years in a blighted inner-city community, this false theology constantly undermined and oppressed my soul.
I was familiar with the Scripture that Christ “ascended far above the heavens that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:10, ESV), yet the magnitude of this truth never fully captured me. But this truth is transformational.
He has overcome the world. Our universe has been dominated and conquered by his glorious LIGHT! He has redeemed all of creation and is seated and enthroned at the right hand of the Father.
I am not a Jedi knight desperately striving to stop the onslaught of darkness. I am a joint heir of the King of Glory! In him, I am more than a conqueror. I am an ambassador of Christ, bringing wondrous news to the cave dwellers of this small but beloved planet.
The Roman ambassadors during the time in history that Paul lived “ruled in the midst of their enemies” (Ps. 110:2). They were second only to Caesar. Their decrees were synonymous with the decrees of Caesar. They were among the most feared and powerful men that walked the earth. If a Roman citizen was injured or abused anywhere in the known world, the village or city responsible would likely be razed. One can only imagine the terror that filled a rebellious city when the Roman ambassador arrived. He would often give the people the option of surrender or brutal annihilation. If they continued in their defiance, their wives and children would be tortured and murdered, their city and all that is within it ravaged.
That’s why it could be a bit confusing to understand why Paul would use this title of ambassador, which invoked such terror, and apply it to believers in Christ. Yet in many ways this is our truest state.
Awakened to Become Royal Ambassadors
As Jesus’ ambassadors, we speak for Christ himself. We reign with Christ and in Christ himself. Wherever we walk, we are surrounded by heavenly hosts, by horses and chariots of fire. We bring to the wandering and broken the message of an eternal kingdom filled with glorious hope, redemption, salvation, and life everlasting.
We bring to the rebel a warning of judgment, yet with a different twist. Our warning might look more like this:
The King of the universe, allowed his only begotten son to be tortured, murdered, ravaged, and razed to pay for your rebellion. His son was beloved and perfect, but he took upon himself your crimes, so that both the infinite love and absolute justice of the King might be demonstrated and upheld. In fact, the King is so passionate for you that he has commanded me, his Royal Ambassador, to beg you on his behalf to receive his gift of forgiveness, redemption, and adoption.
How fascinating our calling is! We are divinely empowered Royal Ambassadors. We are divinely commissioned begging ambassadors. Yet we are also incarnational “Spelunking Ambassadors.” And that’s where the real challenge lies. Here’s what I mean:
Although our universe is not dominated by darkness, we are often sent like Paul and Silas into dark caves and dungeons to bring heaven’s light, freedom, and hope to captives living there. It is our frequent spelunking that can cause us to feel overwhelmed by darkness.
Often I must fight against the “autopilot” of my soul that habitually steers my thoughts towards the shadowlands. Nevertheless, the truth of the Ascension, the truth of Christ to us, within us, through us, for us, before us, over us, and upon us has been lifting my gaze upward into places of beauty, glory, and victory. I pray that the same is true for all of you, my dear friends.
As someone who struggles with terrible eyesight, I wholeheartedly testify that David Bryant’s constant challenge that we put on our “King Jesus glasses” is vital. When I misplace my glasses, I feel like half a man, unsure of my steps, inept and in a fog. I experience the same oppressive ineptness when I attempt to minister in a world devoid of Christ’s absolute supremacy.
Our Lord said, “Let there be light!” and the universe exploded into existence with wondrous brilliance. In his ascension, Jesus filled the universe with all-consuming light that consumes not only darkness but even the temporal light of the stars. He now fills all things in all ways with his eternal, brilliant, wondrous, redeeming, conquering light.
This is the light that shines in the darkness that will never be overcome. This is the light that burns in us and through us as we shine like stars in the universe. Brothers and sisters, let us now walk in the light as he is in the light! Let us joyfully shine this light to those living in darkness as the Royal Ambassadors of our Savior that we are.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,
as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Cor. 5:20, NIV)