The Nodding Watchman

An event takes place every Sunday which contains the potency to answer the problems of the world.  It is completely ignored.  Throughout the week, throughout the month, and throughout the year an anxious, frustrated world tackles the problems of war, disease and social unrest.  No answer is found.  And then on a Sunday morning, a small segment of that world comes together to hear the Answer.  In a ridiculous place, in ridiculously small numbers, a group of Christians congregate to hear the Answer to all problems.  Jesus Christ in not passed by majority vote, nor chosen by a committee as the last resort of a desperate people.  For an hour or two, Christ Himself uses a man to supply the answer to the old man’s problem of predestination and the young girl’s problem of dating.

Where is the problem-pressed world while this is going on?  One would expect that a society so troubled with every manner of worry and confusion would flock in droves to this gathering of Christians.  Instead they are sound asleep.  In their search for a solution to the prevalence of divorce among parents and sexual looseness among youth, the world has admitted that every answer may be right, except one, Jesus Christ.  In the search for an antidote to distrust and hatred between nations, every suggestion has been attempted except one, Jesus Christ.  The world is in the position of a mathematician who runs madly through the streets, tearing his hair, and screaming, “How much is two plus two, but I won’t allow you to say four.”  Regardless of whether their sleep on Sunday morning is physical or not, such men are terribly bound in the shackles of death.

I suppose that most believing, Christian young people will go to church Easter morning.  They will except to hear the old story of how Jesus Christ died and rose.  They many make an attempt to work up their emotions so that on this special occasion they can feel special pity or sorrow and joy.  There are a few other details in the Easter story however.  There were some disciples of Jesus who fell asleep at Gethsemane, and there was an ignorantly sleeping church which heralded His resurrection with snores.

Between His resurrection and ascension, Christ gave some pointed commands to those followers of His, those Christians, among whom we are counted.  He told them to be watchful.  No doubt, His disciples then recalled Jesus urgent message some time before, when He had described perilous days ahead for them and ended with the requirement that they be watchful.

To the Christian (I use the word in its true sense, not as polluted by the Christ-less applications of modernism) the exhortation comes with the same divine strength that it had in the Lenten days of Christ Himself, BE WATCHFUL.  The disciples did not know what Christ’s mission on the cross really was.  They could not see that He had to arise.  They slept.  The Christian young person sees Easter’s meaning plainly.  Why is his head nodding?  Can it be that the watchman is succumbing to the same deadly sleep, the sleep that deadens the young person to Christ.  Ministers refer to this sleep, the sleep that deadens the young person to Christ.  Ministers refer to this sleep frequently.  It is known as worldlimindedness.  Too often the minister’s warning sails right past the young people.  They lean back in their pews and relate worldly-mindedness to Hollywood and unbelievers.  This is tragic, for in this way is bypassed the greatest opportunity they have of being roused to realization that the Philistines are upon them.  Now you understand that young people are usually not drowsy, physically.  In fact, they are characterized by continual zest.  They must be doing something.  But a quest for “something to do”, a quest for “something fun”, which from the start eliminates Jesus Christ as a possibility, is the quest of a person who has fallen asleep.  Jesus demand.  BE WATCHFUL, means just this:  tear your mind from the world and direct it towards Him.

The miserable misconception which deludes some is that watchfulness only applies to the sphere of doctrine.  Areas of romance and recreation are supposed to be outside Christ’s injunction.  This is pitiful.  The doctrinal dissertations of one whose life testifies contrariwise are futile.  How can one expect to influence others in doctrine when it is apparent that he has not even influenced himself?  A nodding watchman cannot awaken others.

The depths of the sufferings and the heights of the glory of the Son of God, considered in a special way at Easter, permit no dozing.  The occupied cross and the empty tomb annihilate our self imposed sleeping pills.