“But stay awake at all times…” - Luke 21:36a (ESV)
Sleep is necessary for our health. Without sleep, we are compromised: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sleep affects our physical and mental functions, assists in fighting disease, develops a healthy immune system, and positively contributes to our metabolism.
So why would Jesus encourage us to “stay awake at all times?”
The answer is quite apparent: He’s stressing the importance of being — and remaining — “alert.” He’s not speaking of physical sleep. The Lord commands his disciples to “stay awake” because he understands how our hearts can become drunk with the cares of this life (Lk. 21:34).
Like the alcoholic or addictive person who desires to numb themselves from the pressures of life, we too can be driven to find distractions to avoid facing the complex realities of life. And in a “drunken stupor,” we fail to remember Who it is that will save us!
Jesus has just shared with his disciples that in the last days, nations will be distressed. People will be perplexed, and the heavens and earth will reveal disturbing signs. People will faint because of fear and anxiety about what the future will bring (see Lk. 21:25-28).
His words ring true today as they did then. In every area of our lives, we live with uncertainty. Who will save and deliver us? And what about being perplexed? For the life of me, when I think I’ve seen and heard it all, there’s something new that completely bewilders me.
But amid a troubled and confusing world, Jesus reminds us: “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
That’s why we must “stay awake,” so we will remember Who saves us! When I remember that the Lord will return, I sleep like a baby.
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