Back in June of 1944, the Allied forces invaded Europe in order to engage an enemy that was stealing, killing, and destroying. June 6, 1944 has become known as "D-Day." Interestingly, the “D” doesn’t stand for anything in particular. It simply means "The Day”, a reference point in time marking the beginning of the day on which a secret military operation was to take place. It was the term given to any particular day of a plan of attack. Going forward in the European campaign, the days and weeks to follow the term "Day of Days" was given in reference to that first day, June 6th, 1944. The beginning of the engagement of a vast and targeted military operation against the evil that had risen to power. In the days that followed that "Day of Days," the count became D-Day +1, D-Day+2, and so on ... days marking the mission’s duration, and those fortunate enough to survive and keep the count.
Not all folks are kindred with my heart in regards to the Larger Story we are living in - the Greatest Love Story set in the midst of the Fiercest Battle. Who can blame them? I'm sure those living in the early 1940's in Europe would have liked it to be another way as well. And then those in the rest of the world were reluctant, even resistant to acknowledge that indeed it was another world-wide war. I believe it is our longing for Eden that makes such war time and battle difficult. Though we were made for Eden, we find ourselves in the middle of a world at war.
Now we have another war on our hands: a pandemic, a fight against death that has caused millions of people to alter their lives accordingly. I'm not sure anything has affected so many in such a short time in such a global way as COVID-19. Maybe World War II. It is amazing on one hand, and so very sad on another. We are challenged by the news and realities of casualties, the loss of life and how every civilian has been called up and in to fight.
It seems the vast majority of people (including believers) do struggle to see the spiritual battle on any day, maybe every day, and especially these days. The war for the soul often goes unseen. For those who see it, they are the ones called fanatic, weird, or even crazy. The battle for the heart, yours and mine, is both an individual battle that must be fought every day, both independently as well as corporately. One that we are encouraged to fight together, side by side (6 feet apart), against a common enemy.
How to fight? That might be the question! Jesus didn’t focus as much on how to die as how to Live. Yes, there is dying to self and crucifying the flesh/false self. But where there is death, Jesus taught and brought resurrection. All his healing and restoration and resurrections were to reveal again and again just who had the power and authority over the enemy.
New Testament scholar James Kallas points out that approximately 80% of the gospels show Jesus’ concern for power (and authority) and only 20% show his focus on love, peace, and other “Godward” characteristics of our faith.” Jesus talked far more about a "Kingdom Life" than he did a "saved life.”
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go …" Matthew 28:18-19
We miss the purpose of the day of Easter if we miss what the cross was ultimately for. If we stop at that amazing hill called Golgotha and do not move onward, upward, further up and further in to “Zoweh" - the Greek word for "Life," the Kingdom Life that was purchased for us. Forgiveness was accomplished, Salvation established too, the curtain torn, the holy of holies now accessible through Christ, by Christ ... but there is even more. What in the world could be more? LIFE. RESURRECTED LIFE. I have found that if you stop at the cross and forgiveness, you get one type of life … a life of trying not to sin. If you continue through the cross, through the toll booth and payment, through the ransom and through the death, then you get something more, much more … FREEDOM! Where sin tainted, encumbered, and was in our way … through the Cross, the locks on the chains of bondage were not merely picked, they were destroyed. No more bondage … no more death!
Paul says in Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom the Christ set you free."
Jesus said in John 10:10, "I came that you might have life to the full", "to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28), "to seek and save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10).
... and there are a few more important Life-giving purposes as to why Jesus came. But why we emphasize the cross and death rather than wearing small stones around our necks symbolizing Resurrected Life, that the stone was rolled away, I'm not sure.
The more I look at it, read about it, and listen to God tell me about it, the more I am convinced the enemy would like nothing more than to have us settle for Gethsemane and Golgotha (Calvary) rather than move through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and to the Mountains of Transfiguration, our transfiguration, the restoration of us into who we truly are - Image Bearers whom God felt was worth dying for so we could live with Him connected in intimacy.
We should remember all the "D-Days." Christmas is another great invasion; Pentecost, another great invasion; and all the other amazing and significant missions the King of kings, Lamb of God, Good Shepherd stepped into as He pressed into humanity taking the next hill and the next hill in the war for the heart. These days are important to remember. D-Days in the spiritual realm represent a transition, a death day to an old way or old life, another Kingdom victory on the way to The Victory, the second coming ... V-Day.
Resurrection day, celebrated yesterday, April 12th, will go down in history for many reasons. Church buildings were closed but “church,” the body of believers was open! Open for the fullness and celebration of the deep, deep work of Christ; Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension! On the historical calendar, the next big D-Day comes in the spiritual realm when the Holy Spirt comes. Jesus prepared the troops with the Holy Spirit during the scrimmage by the sending out the 72 in Luke 10:17-21. He shared his power and authority with His friends, armed them, and then turned them loose to practice the Kingdom Life. And it worked.
Jesus made it official when He transferred His power and authority to His friends (which includes us!) when He, the resurrected Christ, breathed on his closest friends, those assembled waiting to receive their next orders, the next gift, the next responsibility, the equipment needed for the next D-Day in preparation for the next V-Day (John 15:15).
On the front lines of the spiritual battle we can take heart in being reminded that V-Day (May 8, 1945), stood for “Victory in the World War II campaign in Europe." Victory for those Allies who fought bravely in the physical realm offers us a glimpse of something even in the spiritual realm. Today, we celebrate and proclaim to our very real and experienced enemy - the kingdom of darkness - that this is V-Day part 1 - Victory Over Sin Day.
Celebrate Life today friends as you might have celebrated life yesterday on Easter Sunday. And remind our enemy who we are by how we live, FREE! Remind our defeated foe that another D-Day is coming, one that will start with a trumpet blast and then the Eastern Skies parting and a rider on a white horse will come into sight, wearing a robe dipped in blood, death at his feet and Life in the Kingdom finally here in its fullness. Another Victory ... The Victory is at hand, one that will vanquish enemy, no more physical death, no more disease and no more sin … I can’t imagine and I can’t wait.
Hope is here in the midst of COVID-19 and He rides a white horse, He will see us through sharing His power and authority with His friends - it implies we will need it and I strongly suggest we learn how to wield it. There is nothing better in the midst of this war than the freedom of the Kingdom Life with the Father, Son, and Spirit … sharing with the Trinity the Life we were made for and the Life our King came to make sure we enjoyed.
Happy Resurrection Day. R-Day+1
For the Life, For the Mission,