Born Again and Awake

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” -John 11:11

After nearly two decades, a new Matrix movie has come out! I have a confession to make. I am not a fan of overtly “Christian” movies. I find more “secular” films, with Christian themes in them, whether intended or not, to be more powerful and moving. At the same time, I know Christian comparisons or movie illustrations can be overdone and, for some, overkill. But I see it as God’s general grace and common revelation in our present visual culture. And so, here is a little post on something the new Matrix Resurrections has me thinking about as we head into a new year.

In the first Matrix movie, we find Thomas Anderson questioning his life, reality, and identity. We see him go on this journey of being “awakened” and “reborn” into the “real” world as he takes the red pill, representing the truth.

When he wakes up in the real world, I find that whole scene to be a powerful picture of what it means to be “born again” when we receive Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life and begin to follow him. We start to discover who we are as “Thomas Anderson” learns of his true name: Neo. We discern what is true and what is an illusion. Our eyes are opened to the lies of the enemy that have kept us enslaved in the system of this world and kingdom of darkness.

In this new Matrix movie, we find “Neo” back living as “Thomas Anderson” in a new version of the Matrix. Without giving away spoilers from the first three movies or this new one, he once again needs to “awaken” to the truth and rediscover his true identity.

And this brings me to what I have been reflecting on. Scripture not only calls us to be “born again” but also calls believers to “wake up” and remember who they are in Christ. Even as born-again followers of Christ, we start to fall asleep spiritually, forget who we are, and find ourselves going back to our old way of life. Before we know it, we are just like the rest of the world again and need “re-awakened. Consider some of these verses that were written to believers:

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. -Romans 13:11

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  -Ephesians 5:14-17

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. -Revelation 3:2-3

Those who have yet to receive Christ need to be reborn into the kingdom and family of God. But for those already born-again, we sometimes need to be re-awakened or possibly even resurrected, spiritually speaking. I am not talking about our future resurrection when Christ returns, but here and now while still alive. We easily can forget our true identity, purpose, and calling in Christ and slip back into our old way of life.

Could this new Matrix movie be a way of shaking some of us back up out of our slumber? Might it be a message that we need “re-awakened” to the truth in Christ? Might it be a reminder of God’s resurrection power to enable us to escape the wiles of the devil, know the truth, and have the truth set us free to be and do all we are called as we follow Jesus? Could it be time for God’s people to arise and wake up once again?

The overall theme or message of The Matrix may not be all that off or unrealistic. After all these years, which pill will you take? Because your story and my story are not over yet! But we are going to have to fight for it…

Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.’ -Judges 5:12

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