Watching for an hour
Jesus was praying during his last evening with his loved ones.
He very much needed his Father's support and that of his disciples. His Father
was awake and listening, but his friends fell asleep for "their eyes were heavy"
-- as undoubtedly were their minds. It had been a long, hard day and all were
To "watch" is defined as "the act or fact of keeping awake,
especially of keeping awake and alert, in order to look after, protect or
guard". There are other meanings also, but none that are relative to these
We all spend a lot of time "watching". We might be clock
watchers at school or work; we might be watching children at play; we might be
watching TV; we might be watching traffic. The examples could go on and on. We
spend a lot of our time watching (and waiting).
One hour... a mere 60 minutes of 60 seconds each... not much
of our "threescore years and ten". But what a long time that hour can be if
you're watching the time and patients ahead of you at the doctor's office; or it
could seem a LONG time if your loved one's flight was delayed and you are left
watching (and waiting).
And yet how short one hour can seem if you're cramming for a
test... or saying goodbye to a loved one.
We know that our Father in heaven has spent countless days and
years, watching. He watched "in the beginning" as creation proceeded... for He
saw everything that He had made... and it was very good. He watched probably
with sadness as Adam and Eve disobeyed and then tried to cover their sin; He
watched as wickedness grew upon the earth and Noah and his family were the only
ones righteous enough to be saved; He watched as the floodgates of heaven and
earth opened up. Yes, He watched throughout countless times... and He watches
over us and His land even now.
And there are many examples in Scripture of those who have
Abraham watched as the smoke of the Sodom/Gomorrah area went
up as the smoke of a furnace.
Joseph watched his brothers... and his brothers watched him;
later Joseph watched over the house of Potiphar and then over the prison house
and then over the entire land of Egypt (and the world).
Moses and Israel watched as the Egyptians were destroyed in
the Red Sea.
Eli sat watching... his heart trembling for the ark of
Saul watched for David... and David watched for
King Belshazzar watched as the finger of a human hand appeared
and wrote on the plaster of the wall... and his knees knocked together in
The examples continue on down to the Pharisees and Sadducees,
who watched John the Baptist and then Jesus. They watched him constantly even as
he hung on a cross.
But in Mat 26:36-45 Jesus asked his disciples, his friends, to
watch with him as he struggled with his humanity there in sad Gethsemane. But
they couldn't and didn't... not even for just an hour.
And what of us, brothers and sisters? How well do we watch?
for an hour? how often do our minds wander during this meeting... during this
exhortation... as the emblems are passed?
Can we... do we... give an hour a day for readings? prayer?
contemplation of our hope? Or are our thoughts and prayers only fleeting? How
many times have we fallen asleep as we said our prayers? An hour isn't much...
indeed, as Duncan Heaster says, "The 6,000 years of humanity is an absolute pin
prick in the spectrum of eternity. And our 70 years is even less
One day soon our 70 years... our brief hour... will be
complete, and the kingdom we have prayed for since childhood will be a reality.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time
will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants
in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep
watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house
will come back -- whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster
crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What
I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch" (Mar