Volume 34 Number 7

Keeping Watch

You often see it in the movies, the night is dark and in the darkness there is peril. There is an enemy out there, so a guard is set. Typically in the first or second watch, no problem arises but in the darkest part of the night the watchman, weary from lack of sleep, invariably nods off (usually to his own demise), and the camp is attacked.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

These words during the feast in the upper room are a warning to Simon that he is going to, “fall asleep on watch.” Of course, that is exactly what happened but I want you to notice what Jesus did not say. He did not say, “Simon, pray that you do not fall.” He said, “But I have prayed for you.” While Peter is targeted in this statement, it should be a comfort to us all. Although Peter may stumble, it is Christ himself who has taken up the watch. He prayed for Simon. He prayed for him to not lose his faith, to overcome, and to be a source encouragement to his brothers.

Furthermore, Christ continues to keep watch for us. His blood washes away our sin and he intercedes with God on our behalf. As in our example the enemy is out there in the darkness. He is waiting for us to fall asleep on watch so he can attack. One day, if we remain faithful, the enemy may say, “They, failed in their duty and fell asleep,” and Christ goes before His Father and tells Him, “But I was awake and kept watch.”

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8:33-35).

Wade McKnight, Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Chickasha, OK

End of this issue.