Maundy Thursday: Stay and keep watch
Updated: Apr 10
A Bible Reading: Mark 14:32-34
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
We often think of Jesus with just his twelve disciples, but actually his circle of friends, like ours, was more complex. In Luke 10 Jesus sends a group of seventy-two on a mission, while
In Acts 1:15, just after Jesus ascension into heaven, Peter addresses a group of a hundred and twenty believers.
At the other end of the scale, there were times when Jesus left the other nine disciples behind and took just Peter, James and John, his ‘inner circle’, with him. One of those times was the transfiguration on the mountain, when they witnessed Jesus in all his glory. Another time was here in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was deeply troubled and distressed, and he asked them to stay and keep watch. And they fall asleep.
There are some people in all of our lives with whom we feel secure enough to share our highs and our lows, the mountain top experiences and the valleys of despair, the celebrations and the consolations. Can you recognise these people and thank God for their love and support? And if at times, like Jesus with the sleeping disciples, you have felt let down by them, can you forgive them and do all you can to keep a healthy relationship?
And, just as these people are people we can turn to at any time, so there will be people, maybe the same people, who see you as someone they can turn to, someone with whom they can share their joys and their sorrows, their hopes and their fears. Can you recognise these people? Can you ‘keep watch with them’ in their time of need and not ‘fall asleep’?
What are the concerns are you facing today? Would it help to share them with someone?
Is there someone you know who is struggling today? Could you reach out to them and help share their burden?
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for those you have given me with whom I can share my joys and my sorrows, my hopes and my fears. Thank you too for those who turn to me for support and encouragement. Help me to remain faithful to them and to ‘keep watch’ over them. Thank you that we can always turn to you and that you are never asleep when we are in need.