The Drifters recorded Up On the Roof in 1962. The lyrics described a relaxing place, “up on the roof,” away from city life's noisy hustle and bustle. One verse went as follows: Right smack dab in the middle of town, I found a paradise that’s trouble-proof. And if this world starts getting you down, there’s room enough for two up on the roof… Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it, so far up and away from the rat race?
Red-tailed hawks like to perch on the roof of my garage. It’s relatively high off the ground, but after they sit awhile, they take off and fly even higher over the treetops before swooping down into the valley below. It was a beautiful sight until one evening, the quiet, peaceful swooping and gliding turned into a frenzied cacophony of hawk fledglings and parents screaming and darting wildly in the sky above the garage. It was time for the fledglings to leave the nest, and no one was too happy about it. The paradise they’d found, “right smack dab in the middle of town,” was certainly not trouble-proof!
Jesus warned the disciples that their world would not be trouble-proof, either. As He spoke to them in Matthew 10, He cautioned them about their mission to reach lost souls. In verses 26-27 (NLT), He said, "Don't be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops (rooftops) for all to hear!"
The Lord gave the disciples their marching orders as they went out among the lost. He was encouraging them to proclaim publicly—on the rooftops—what He had shared privately, in confidence, with them. In other words, “Men, don’t hold back! Shout the Gospel from the rooftops! Keep nothing from the lost! It’s time!” Adam Clarke, a Bible commentator, explains it like this: “The spirit of our Lord's direction appears to be this: whatever I speak to you is for the benefit of mankind--keep nothing from them, declare explicitly the whole counsel of God; preach ye on the housetops.”
Rooftops were flat in those days and were places of meditation, prayer, and announcing things in a public manner. Today, we have audio technology capable of amplifying the tiniest voice throughout large arenas and stadiums. In Jesus’ day, a town crier would stand on a rooftop and proclaim times of worship or public announcements, hence the instruction to “shout from the rooftops for all to hear."
Keep nothing from them! The world is getting darker. Waves of lost souls are being stirred as fear, calamity, and hopelessness swirl around us. No one can escape the effects of the unrest in our world. The devil tries to silence the Church through these tumultuous times, but as disciples of Christ, we must keep nothing from them! Unless we are completely isolated from society, there are lost souls all around us. We must open our eyes and mouths and keep nothing from them! Tell someone about the hope you have found in Jesus Christ!
It’s time to jump out of the comfortable nest of peace and quiet. It’s time to make some noise, flap our wings, and shout the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the rooftops!
© 2023, Chris Werre