Holy Thursday April 13, 2017 Watch

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 262:41

People in the military are familiar with the term “watch” but when I heard it as a child, I did not understand what Jesus was asking His disciples to see.  Did Jesus want them to observe His anguished praying.  Watch like observing TV was what I visualized and was confused.  As I matured, I came to realize through the illness of my dad at the tender age of 33 what keeping watch alongside someone really meant.  It has been researched how calming and reassuring it is to have a loved one be present during a painful episode.  Even as a child of ten, when I would visit my dad in the hospital, his breathing would be easier when I held his hand.  Thirty years later I sat by my mother’s bedside and could have the same effect when I kept watch the two weeks she lay in a coma before the cancer took her to heaven.

Jesus wanted and needed his best friends to be with Him as He faced the betrayal, pain and death that He knew were coming.  The men whom He loved most in this world were not up to the task.  Their flesh was weak.  Sleep overcame them, no matter how often He asked for their assistance.   It is true that very often we do not realize the impact or importance of what might seem like a simple gesture.  Staying up with someone, attending a game, holding a hand, even smiling at someone who is facing a hard decision can be a life line.  Keeping Watch is often done in small ways but can have a big impact.  Jesus said where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there too.  We can bring the power of the Lord into a circle of prayer and concern and doesn’t that create calm?

Hind sight is always 20/20 but weren’t the disciples listening at all to what the Lord had been saying to them?  The Gospels of course were written after Jesus died.  They had the advantage of knowing the end of the story as we do, so picking up the cues is much easier.  How disappointed in themselves must they have been when just a few hours later Jesus was hanging on a tree… and they had slept when He asked them to pray.

Lord, open my eyes to the important moments that may seem so inconsequential.  Give me a watchful spirit and a mind that is quick to respond with a helping hand, a silent pray or whatever else is needed in the situation.  Keep me from falling into the temptations of the flesh!

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