Watch with me (27-03-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 118:24, 28
This is the day that the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
You are my God, and I will praise you:
You are my God, and I will exalt thee.
Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36-38,40-41
Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them,
"Sit here while I go over there and pray."
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me."
When he returned to his disciples he found them sleeping.
"Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
I wonder if you have been in a very difficult situation, one that you have had to face alone. Maybe the bereavement of someone really close, maybe receiving the results of hospital tests or maybe a difficult decision that you need to make. What is needed at those times is someone just to be there. They don’t need to say anything or do anything. Their presence is enough.
Or maybe you have been alongside someone who is facing such a situation themselves or sat with someone who is terminally ill, at home or in the hospital. At such times words seem totally inadequate. Sometimes all we can do is to be there. To watch and to pray.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was going through such a time as he wrestled with the enormity of what he was facing. Betrayal. Desertion. Denial. A rigged trial. Torture. Crucifixion. And carrying the weight of all our sin on his shoulders. There was nothing his disciples could do or say; in fact if they did they were more likely to do or to say the wrong thing. Jesus had to face this on his own. But he needed his close friends nearby. He needed to know they were there, and he needed their prayers.
Jesus took all of his disciples with him into the garden, all except Judas who would appear later to betray him. He then took three of his closest disciples, Peter, James and John deeper into the garden where he would wrestle with God in prayer. He took them with him with the words, ‘Stay here and keep watch with me.’ To their credit they went with him and remained with him. Unfortunately, they fell asleep. Like all of us at times, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.
When life is tough it is good to know that there is a wider group of people concerned and looking out for you; it is also good to know that there is a closer, more intimate group watching with you and praying for you. Is there anyone you know who is going through it at the moment? Can you let them know that you are there for them? Can you watch and pray for them?
Thank you, lord, for all those who watch and pray for me.
Help me to watch and pray for those I know facing their own Gethsemane at the moment