Pictured is my son, Zachary, who is keeping "watch" during an outdoor worship service last summer. Photo Credit: My son, Micah Cramer @5thchildphotography (Etsy Store) 

Although the chair was far from comfortable, it had been my home for the past thirty minutes, and my body began to accept the fact that it would remain my home for at least another thirty. With that fact, I began to slouch, sliding my legs further underneath the desk in front of me. I then allowed my ears to turn the professor’s history lecture on the War of 1812 into a soothing drone, making focus difficult, and keeping my eyes open, even more challenging. What I think was moments later, a quick jerk of my head, caused me to abruptly open my eyes. I sat upright in my chair, and glanced around the room, checking to see if I had been caught in my “moment of indiscretion”, otherwise known as “sleeping in class”. 

In the book of Matthew, specifically Chapter 26, we could say, three of Jesus’ disciples are caught in such an “indiscretion”.  Jesus had just finished the Last Supper with his disciples. He knows that Peter is about to deny him. He knows Judas is betraying him. He knows his death is imminent. And he goes to Gethsemane to pray, asking if Peter (and others) will “keep watch with me”. Before Jesus goes off to pray, he even shares that his “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. It is beyond our comprehension...his depth of pain, his loneliness, the betrayal he was feeling as he walked into the Garden that night. The weight of the world pressing down on him at that moment, would have made it difficult for him to make the journey. And yet he did, to spend time with his Father. And he had what seemed like one simple request, to the three who walked with him: “keep watch with me”. He desired back-up. He desired his friends to be close to him, to watch, to pray. He wanted them to be alert. To be protected from the schemes of the devil. Yet, he also wanted to spare them the full devastation of seeing him crying out to the Father, spare them from seeing him sweat blood as he bowed before the Father, so he had them stay back a bit. And he walked further into the garden, among the trees, alone with the Father, crying out to him. 

Watch. Pray. The instruction, the plea, doesn’t seem to be that difficult, does it? At least not for us, us who are able to simply read “the story”, and point our fingers at those who failed the test. We know the “end of the story”. We know this was Jesus’ last night on earth. We know; but they didn’t. They were tired, their bodies exhausted. The night had been long. Jesus, there’s a lot going on. Couldn’t we call it a night? They let their bodies rest on the side of the tree. They laid their head against its bark. They let the weight of their eyes be drawn closed, and just like I did in the classroom of my professor, they feel asleep on their Teacher. And not just once, nor twice, but three times. Three times Jesus returns from his time with the Father, to find his beloved three....sleeping. 

I read this passage and think, “oh, I would stay awake”. I mean, it is Jesus, after all. If Jesus asked me to stay awake and keep watch, if Jesus asked me to watch and pray, of course I could do it. Or could I? 

My challenge with our “Wednesday Word” this week, “watch”, is that we each take time to do just that. To “watch and pray”. What might Jesus want us to watch for this week? What temptations may be luring in the darkness for us, temptations that can be identified when we “watch”? What might Jesus want us to pray for this week? Who does he want to bring to our mind during our time with the Father? As we head into Maundy Thursday, and then into Good Friday, I wonder if we could each read the scripture in Matthew 26. Walk the journey with Jesus again. Can we take the opportunity to allow God to show us a piece of what it must have been like for his Son, Jesus, in those days leading into his death? It won’t be an easy journey to allow even a portion of the pain, the realization of what Jesus went through for us, to seep into our souls. It won’t be a pretty journey, as betrayal, sacrifice, sin, and death are never pretty. But keeping watch, praying, will be life-changing. We cannot remain the same when we allow God into the deepest portions of our being. He will change us. Be ready. And keep watch. 

Misty Cramer, is an author and speak whose desire is to encourage others, as she shares the hope Jesus provides in the midst of life’s darkest challenges, as well as it’s brightest triumphs. If you would like to receive “Wednesday’s Word”, as well as other encouragement, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  #imagine320 #wednesdaysword #watch #keepwatch #jesus #easter #devotions #christian #encouragement #exhaustion #peace #mandythursday #goodfriday 

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