Episode 1. A Wakeup Call
One day … one day our lives on this earth will be over. We don’t like to think too much about that – but it’s true. And it’s time for a wakeup call. If you or I died tonight – would we be ready to face eternity? I remember one time a few years back, […]
One day … one day our lives on this earth will be over. We don’t like to think too much about that – but it’s true. And it’s time for a wakeup call. If you or I died tonight – would we be ready to face eternity?
I remember one time a few years back, I had a week of travelling that was brutal – from Melbourne to Singapore to speak at a conference and then to Malaysia for a meeting, back to Singapore. And then … then instead of heading back to Melbourne where I lived, it was a direct flight to Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia.
Now this was back in my IT consulting days, I used to travelled a lot and I kind of had my regular hotels in each city where I liked to stay. But on this particular trip to Adelaide, my regular hotel was booked out. The Formula One Grand Prix was in town and so I was forced to stay at an unfamiliar hotel.
Before I collapsed into bed that night, I ordered a 6.00 am wakeup call – I had some preparation to do before my client meeting at 8.00 am in the morning. I will never forget receiving that wakeup call. It was pitch black. The sharp ring of the phone. I awoke in a complete daze. And I had absolutely no idea where I was. Instead of rolling over to answer the phone I jumped out of bed – I skinned my shins on a coffee table. When I finally realised a phone was ringing I picked it up and asked the receptionist what must have appeared to be the strangest question. I said to her out of my daze, “I know this sounds really weird … but where am I? What city is this?” I can’t begin to imagine what she was thinking … but then perhaps she’d heard it all before.
It had never happened to me before and it’s never happened to me since. All that travel and that work – the unfamiliar surroundings of that hotel room – I literally had absolutely no idea that morning where I was. And for a moment there I had a real sense of panic – where was I? Was there some plane that I should have been on that I’d missed? Was I in the right city? What day was it? – a terrible sense of panic. Completely disoriented.
And I wonder – I wonder how many people have that same sense in their lives today. They woke up this morning probably in a familiar place, physically. But in their hearts as they kind of well, look at their lives – wake up, head off to work or school or whatever it is that you do and you think, “Man, am I in the right place? Is … is this where I’m meant to be? Am I doing what I’m meant to be doing?”
Today on the program, I just feel that it’s time for a wake up call. As sharp a sound as that telephone call, as disturbing as it may be, as disorienting and unsettling as it may be – today, it’s time for a wakeup call.
Since the days of old, God has been sending people to call us back to Him. In the Old Testament Prophet after Prophet came to speak to God’s chosen people Israel but they were rejected. God sent John the Baptist in the 1st century. He was rejected. God sent His Son – He was crucified.
Men and women have been rejecting the call of God not just for centuries but for millennia. It’s a call of love, it’s a call – a call into the most wondrous and beautiful relationship. But most, most have rejected Him. I’m going to read to you know a passage, a chapter actually from Matthew’s Gospel. It’s what Jesus said about our rejection of God and the consequences.
This Word from God – this Word is His wakeup call – the shrill sound of an alarm. And while disorienting it may be, once we get our bearings, it is the sweetest call of all. Have a listen, Matthew 11:1-30:
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities. When John the Baptist heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John the Baptist, “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen! But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent.
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.
At that time Jesus said, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:21-30)
So what was Jesus ranting and raving about to all those cities? Simply this: He was saying in effect, ‘Look, God sent you the prophets, God sent you John the Baptist, God sent you me and look at all the miracles I’ve been doing and still, still you haven’t repented. Still you haven’t turned back from your wicked ways to God’.
That’s the wakeup call because there are consequences. There is a day of judgement coming. That’s the wakeup call.
And today, today God has sent you, for better and for worse, He sent you – me to say this, ‘Wakeup! A day of judgement is coming’. It’s not complicated. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, wise and intelligent but simply to believe with the faith of a child. And listen, listen again to the alternative that Jesus presents to this horrible day of judgement – just listen again with me:
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Not a bad alternative is it?
So here it is, “Wake up!” There’s a life out there that God wants us to live – wake up!