To go deep, we must wake up. Matthew 11 is about waking up, seeing, or maybe remembering, what has been in front of us for a long time. John the Baptist is in prison. The good, exciting days of preaching to big crowds on the banks of the Jordan River are over. John calls his disciples and says, “Go to Jesus and ask Him if He is the Messiah we have been waiting for, or if we should wait for someone else?” Remember, John is the guy that baptized Jesus. When he saw Him in the crowd he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” That sounds like he knows who Jesus us to me. He was there when the dove came down, and the Voice boomed, “THIS IS MY SON!” And now he asks if Jesus is the guy. That says something to us about what causes us to need a wakeup call:
When things are tough, we need a wake-up call. He’s in jail. Bigtime ministry seems to be over. Crowds are gone. Offering has dried up. Invitations to speak have stopped coming in. And John forgets. When times are tough for us, we might need a wake-up call, a nudge to get us back to the things that once excited us, brought us to tears, had us waving our hands and saying, “Behold the Lamb.”
Here’s another time we need a wake-up call, when it’s been a while. The chronology is not clear, but it seems the baptism of Jesus by John is right at the beginning of His ministry. This scene seems to be pretty late, maybe a couple of years have gone by, maybe nearly three. When is has been a while since we’ve seen the Dove and heard the Voice of God, we may need a wake-up call. We may have forgotten the Glory and need to get back to the mountain where we first saw Him, and He made our faces glow.
Finally, when it is all to0 familiar. Jesus is the cousin of John. John knows Him well. And now, when things are tough, and God hasn’t come through for a while, it would be easy to doubt. “This is Cousin Jesus. We were in 2nd grade together. I was on His little league team. Maybe He’s not all that special.” When you are singing the same old songs and your heart is not stirred. When you sit through service after service and just go through the motions. When you are halfway through a 40 Day Adventure and no growth has happened, then you might need a wake-up call, a reawakening, a heart-stirring that gets the blood flowing again.
So, what do you do? Three things. Get in His presence. Hear what He has to say. And see what He is doing.
John tells his disciples to “Go to Jesus.” Quit sitting around, discussing theology and talking about the good old days. Get up, get out, get in His presence. Get back to church. Join a life group. Start watching a good Bible study each day. The world if full of ways you can intentionally get back in the Presence. Seminars, conferences, retreats. Do something to get you back in front of Jesus today.
Then, when they come to Him, Jesus says, “Go back and tell John what you have heard and seen.” When you need a wake-up call, dig into the Word. Immerse yourself in the Bible. Get hungry for it. Start your day, not with a perfunctory glance at a few verses, but with a long, deep, meditative time in His Word. Read three Old Testament chapters, a Psalm, and a New Testament chapter, at least. For each one of those sections, ask yourself, “What does this say about God? What does it say about me? How can I apply this to my life TODAY?”
And finally, when you need a wake-up call, see what He is doing. Look around you. Open your eyes. Ask God to show you one thing to let you know that He is still at work in your life. And then look for it. Confess it. Brag on it. I am pretty sure that God has done some amazing things around you lately that you just haven’t seen. Make it a point to LOOK and SEE what He is doing. That will wake you up.
How will you know when you are awake? Read the last three verses of this chapter, Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to Me (when you wake up you will hear that) all you who are weary and burdened (sound familiar?) and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. (Wake up so you can rest.) Take My yoke. Learn of Me. Find rest for your souls.” Wake up today and crawl into the arms of Jesus, and let Him take all of your burdens, and give you good rest. And then tomorrow, wake up all over again. I’ll see you then.
Readings this week: Each day read Psalm 32
Today Matthew 11
Tuesday I Corinthians 15
Wednesday Romans 1
Thursday Isaiah 25
Friday Colossians 3
Saturday Romans 8
Sunday Isaiah 43, Philippians 3, Psalm 28, and John 8
Here’s the prayer for this week: O God, Our Father, Wake us up. Renew our spirits, and draw us close to You, so that, our service may not be a duty but a delight, and our love for You be so deep that it produces obedience in us. Do all of this that we may bring honor to Your Name. Amen
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