The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: W

Previous Index Next

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 weary.

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 verses.

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 watched:

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 God.

Saul watched for David... and David watched for Saul.

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 fear.

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 significant."

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 13:32-37).

Previous Index Next