Asbury United Methodist Church
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January 4, 2018

Today may be a good day to wake up and smell the coffee.

          Nicodemus had a wake up and smell the coffee moment.  He had one when he met Jesus in the cover of darkness. 

         All his life he had hitched his mule to the wrong wagon.  He was a Pharisee and a person of prominence in his day. 

         Yet, here is Jesus standing before him saying, “Unless you are born again of water and spirit, you are out of luck!”  (John 3:5-8)

          What Jesus told Nicodemus rocked his world.  Jesus revealed to the man that one can only grasp God’s kingdom spiritually.  Human nature alone does not have the capacity to discern the spiritual domain of God.

          This revelation blew Nicodemus’ mind.  He’d lived his life crossing all the ‘t’s and dotting all the ‘i’s of the Judaic law. 

Even so, Nicodemus’ soul was under conviction because he knew things were not as they should be in his culture.  There was no justice. There was no mercy.

And, the love of God was difficult to find among his peers.  There just had to be more to life than the legalism that trapped his soul!

Did Nicodemus get the memo?  Was he able to enter the Kingdom?

Well, check this out:

“And there came also Nicodemus, who at first had come to Jesus by night; and he brought with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds (John 19:39 Aramaic text).”

The scene opens!  Of all people, there stands Nicodemus!  

He is ready to take possession of Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.  He has brought the embalming ingredients to anoint the Lord’s body.

A hundred pints of myrrh and aloes is the amount used for embalming the body of a king, back in the day.  Nicodemus does not have to utter a word.  With this gesture he is announcing that Christ is the king of his life.

It was the equivalent of bowing down to the cross in public.  He made his stand that day.

Nicodemus had his wake up and smell the coffee moment.  Can you imagine what a giant leap this was for a man who’d spent his entire life as a Pharisaic Jew?

Nicodemus gave up everything to enter the Kingdom.  He crossed a line with regard to his faith tradition, his culture and his family.  Once he did this, he could never return.

The Prodigal had his wake up and smell the coffee moment.  Only, it was not coffee that he was smelling.

After telling his dad that he could not stick around until he died, “So, Dad…may I have my money now!  Well, guess what…his wake up and smell the coffee moment occurred in a pig pen.

And, we are gleeful.  He got what was coming to him!  We told him so!  We knew he’d end up in pig manure.

Was he blind?  He didn’t notice his wallet getting lighter?  He didn’t notice the famine that was spreading everywhere, all across the land?

Was this kid asleep?  Well…are we?

God sends lots of clues.  Instead of hearing the alarm, we hit the snooze.

Maybe God is sending clues right now that we are sleeping through?  Lots of times it takes rock bottom for us to smell the coffee.  Who says it has to be this way?  

What if…what if God has the coffee pot brewing right now, waiting for us to wake up and smell it?  God is not a tyrant, ready to pull the rug out from under us.

God always sends signs.  God is ever present with whiffs coffee. 

“And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, giving useful advice in advance; because he had compassion on his people and on the flock that he had chosen (2 Chronicles 36:15, Aramaic text).”

God had compassion!  Did you catch that?

God is always sending helpers, messengers and counsel.  So, maybe today is a good day to smell the coffee.

Nicodemus did.  The Prodigal did.  And, the news just keeps getting better:

You put Your love on the line
To bear the weight of sin that was mine
Washing my rivers of wrongs
Into the sea of Your infinite love

With arms held high
Lord I give my life
Knowing I’m found in Christ
In Your love forever
With all I am
In Your grace I stand
The greatest of all romance
Love of God my Savior

(Love on the Line, Scott Ligertwood, 2015)

          Even though we may fall asleep, we always have a savior who stands with arms held high, ready, willing and able to receive us when we smell the coffee and come to our senses.

          There is always a path out of the country that we have made called Far Away.  But…there is only one path…the path of cosmic love.



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