Friday, January 11, 2019
Watch and Pray
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Mark 14:38
Because our contemporary urban nights are often ablaze with artificial light, it is difficult for us to image how dark our cities used to be before we were overwhelmed with neon, electric, and halogen glare. The deep shadows and huge patches of darkness made it easy for criminals to operate unseen in the city and so watchmen were necessary for protection. The colorful history of the night watchman dates back over 1000 years. In England, unpaid night watchmen patrolled their parishes, usually in pairs, from around 9pm until sunrise and their duties included crime and fire prevention, waking people who needed to rise early, calling out the time and weather, and helping drunks home.
In Gethsemane, Jesus expected His inner circle to be night watchman when He told them to “watch and pray.” The word translated “watch” means “to have the alertness of a guard at night.” A night watchman must be even more vigilant than a daytime guard. In the daytime, danger can often be spotted from a distance. But a night watchman must use senses other than sight to detect danger. That is the type of watching Jesus spoke about. Jesus warned us that we are too easily distracted by the physical and will be caught unaware if we do not continually discipline ourselves. In the Garden, the disciples' physical needs overwhelmed their desire to obey Him. He was grieved because He knew that if they did not remain in tune with Him, they would be overcome by the evil one. When we take our eyes off Jesus, our values shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God's kingdom.