Stay Awake!

Listen to this article instead

Two hours of sleep is not enough.

I recently proved this statement as I was traveling to a speaking engagement. 

What do you do to stay awake? Coffee? Energy drinks? The old-fashioned toothpicks to hold the eyelids open?

When Jesus spoke about the end times, His one repeated exhortation to His followers was “Stay awake!”

We know that when the disciples’ time came for them to abide with Jesus and keep watch, they fell asleep. But was there anyone who kept Jesus’s injunction to stay awake?

Joseph of Arimathea did. 

Luke tells us that Joseph was actively looking for the kingdom of God. He valued the Lord so much that he was like a human surveillance camera, keeping his eyes open all the time. He wasn’t looking for the signs and seasons of the end times, but instead, had fixed his eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of his faith.

We also know that Joseph exhibited courage with boldness when he asked Pilate for Jesus’s body. This couldn’t have benefitted Joseph in any way, but he so reverenced Christ that he stepped out of the norm and asked the governor for the body so that he could give his master a decent burial. Joseph faithfully served Christ even when Jesus was dead.

Joseph wasn’t the only one staying awake during the dark time of the crucifiction. The ladies who had followed Jesus were keeping awake as well. All of them were practicing radical, diligent obedience even though their Master was in the tomb. Joseph and Nicodemus took 75 pounds of spices and did the difficult manual labor of hauling it to honor the body, but the ladies did the work of preparing the spices.

Then, because of the commandment to honor the Sabbath, they rested from their labor and routine. This was true, obedient rest. The ladies weren’t mindlessly scrolling, entertaining themselves with netflix binges, or distracting their grieving minds with wine walks. These ladies found rest, and comfort, in worship.

Now, they found they had the antidote for all types of fatigue, and they were sober-minded, ready to face whatever came next. 

They were even ready for the unlikely event of resurrection! It still astounds me that Jesus chose these ladies as the first ones to see Him after His resurrection. Women weren’t allowed to testify in court during that time, but here we see that these ladies were His first witnesses. 

Peter, reflecting on these events much later, wrote, “Be sober-minded; Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour…after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 

Joseph of Arimathea, the ladies at the tomb, and even those sleepy disciples experienced the power that came from Jesus’s resurrection. They now knew how to stay awake! All they had to do was abide in Him and keep watch.

And they knew that they would be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established in Christ because in Him, they had been awakened to eternal victory.

This article is from a series of messages entitled, “For Such a Time As This” that I recently gave at a women’s conference. To view them, click on the video below.

View “Stay Awake”
%d bloggers like this: