Keeping Watch

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Keeping Watch

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 23:49, 55-56

49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

After Jesus had died on the cross and the crowd had left, as His teaching ceased and silence fell, there was a group of Jesus’ followers watching what the others did with his body. A detailed account between crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is recorded in all four gospels but is often overlooked.

Looking back the night before, after sharing the Passover meal Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives to pray. In Matthew 26:40-41 we read: Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Looking much further back to the first Passover night, we see how the Lord kept vigil to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and thereafter commanded all Israelites are to keep vigil on the night of Passover to honour the Lord for the generations to come (see Exodus 12:42).

What a night it must have been to live through, as the lives of countless firstborn in the land of Egypt was struck down! If you had been behind one of those doors smeared with the blood of the lamb, what would have gone through your mind? Remember, the sparing of the firstborn was not because of ethnicity but the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. How would Moses’ assurance, that the Lord promised He “will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down” (Exodus 12:23), have played in your mind as you kept watch?

In Gethsemane, as Jesus prayed and agonised to the point of sweating blood, His closest disciples were not able to keep watch with Him. Only an angel came and ministered to Him.

How about us today? Between the remembrance of yesterday and the celebration of tomorrow. Between the time before pandemic and post pandemic. Are we living in fear, losing hope and feeling lonely, without direction and purpose, sinking in our troubles? Or do we know what the Lord is doing during these days? Are we even being part of it?

Let us reflect as individuals, as household, by church groups, as the body of Christ. Watch and pray!

O Lord! Thank you for keeping watch over us. Help us to fix our eyes on you and not be distracted or paralysed by the storms in our lives. Amen.