Keeping Watch

Mark 14:41

Mark 14:41

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.

The hour had finally arrived for the Son of God to be betrayed and handed over to the cruel hands of His torturers.  And what did Jesus do?  Did He run and hide in fear of His captors?  Did He set up a defense?  No, He prayed and anxiously kept watch for His betrayer.  Jesus was keenly aware of the danger that lay just out of sight in the seemingly peaceful darkness of the night.  And where were His beloved disciples?  Jesus found them, not once, but three separate times sleeping while they too should have been praying and keeping watch. But why did Jesus instruct them to keep watch? Was it so they could flee at the first sign of danger?  No!  He told them to keep watch and to pray so that when the evil of the night finally arrived at their doorstep, they would be both spiritually and emotionally ready to stand boldly in the face of the danger at hand.  Jesus did not want them to be surprised, confused, disoriented and disillusioned by the sudden surprise of the enemies assault.  But that is just what happened.  When the trap was sprung, most of the disciples fled in fear and confusion, others cowered and Peter even lashed out in physical violence and anger.  If they had been keeping watch, they would have seen the torches of the enemy in the distance as they made their way through the mist of the olive grove.  If they had been beseeching the Lord in prayer they would have both understood and been at peace about how to respond in the time of trouble.  Dear Believer, are we so different than those poor tired disciples on that fateful night 2,000 years ago?  Isn’t it so true that we are often just as oblivious to the danger that is often so close at hand?  The enemy is ever near, ever scheming, ever springing traps to surprise and disorient our faith.  The traps of false teachers, pride, resentment, anger, offense, distrust, unforgiveness, addiction, laziness and every form of spiritual cancer.  The enemy’s goal is to surprise the Church in order to scatter us and sow seeds of discord, distrust and strife.  Are we keenly aware, as Jesus was, of this very real and present danger?  I think that many times we are not.  The ease, carelessness and even foolishness of our own hearts often prevents us from keeping watch over our hearts, minds, families and the brethren.  It is much easier to sleep than to remain alert!  Especially when we do not daily seek to refill our spiritual “tanks” through prayer, worship and reading the scriptures.  Let us then return to a state of alertness!  Always remembering that the enemy is prowling with the intent of injuring our individual faith, but even more so than this, to injure the unity of the Body of Christ…His Church.  But take heart brethren!  Jesus has promised that in this world we will have trouble…but He has overcome the world!  Remember, Jesus has already gone before us into the night and into the very depths of the enemy’s camp, and He has dismantled sins power over our soul!  This same power of Jesus is alive and well in every Christian!  The power of the Holy Spirit has been given to us to resist the Devil’s ambushes, attacks, and schemes.  If you have fallen prey to the attacks of the enemy lately, then I suggest it is not because the Holy Spirit is weak…it is because you have fallen asleep and not taken the threat of the enemy seriously.  Remember; God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Wake up!  Arise!  Keep watch and resist the Devil and he will flee! 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor John