Watch and Pray

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Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?. . . Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation Matthew 26:40-41 (NIV)

On the night of His betrayal Jesus went to the cool, spacious olive groves called Gethsemane. Jesus often sent the disciples away when He prayed, but on this night He needed their presence. With death looming, He wanted the reassuring touch of friends by His side. It didn’t happen, drowsy with dinner and wine, and lulled by the fragrant spring air, the disciples had fallen asleep and Jesus was left to endure the crucible alone.

Jesus didn’t conceal His hurt. Waking the disciples He asked, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” It was a plaintive request for support, a tormented plea in a time of unanswered prayer and God-forsakenness. Returning to prayer, Jesus again asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering that would come. But it was not removed. His prayers met a stone wall, there was no response, He was left to face the agony and ignominy of the cross alone.

That’s not to say that Christ’s will and the Father’s will didn’t converge. They did. The point was, there was no detour around the cross. This was confirmed later when Christ, talking to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, said, “Did not the Christ have to suffer these things …” (Luke 24:26).

But back to the Lenten text: “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” There’s something here that maybe transcends the Gethsemane context. As we re-enact and enter into the Easter Story let’s not forget that Christ invites us, as He did with the disciples, to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

“May the loving power of God, which raised Jesus to new life,

strengthen you in hope, enrich you with his love,

and fill you with joy in the faith;

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son, and the Holy Spirit be yours,

both now and forever more.”

Easter Blessing [Source – Unknown]

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