“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:37, KJV)
If you’ve ever studied reference material and noticed the same word being repeated in close proximity, then it’s probably worth careful observation to see why. The KJV repeats “watch” four times. All of them in red. The ESV uses the term “awake” and likewise repeats it four times. In fact, the Greek behind this term is repeated 23 times in the New Testament. The last time this term is used (Rev 16:15) we get some clarification. “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15, KJV)
So, watching, being awake, alertness is more than just not sleeping. You’re watching something like you’re watching an investment. You don’t want to be in on things that are going to cost you money, and you want to be diligent about making sure that your investment is doing something. It gives added meaning to what Jesus just covered about the guy who buried his talent. Effectively he was asleep on his master’s investment. There is so much to be said for the prayer warrior who is ever focused on God and keenly alert to what’s going on in that realm. Always lifting up his needs, the needs of those around him, and very attentive to what the Lord is doing. Always fitted with feet of readiness.
Which begs an interesting question. Why does Jesus not know the hour (Mark 13:32)? Commentators try to explain that away as if in His humanity He didn’t know the hour, but now at the Father’s side He likely does. If that was the case, why does Jesus add in that the angels who currently are in heaven don’t know either? Not just not the junior ones, but none of them! Let me throw something out there that may sound off, but think this through for a second. Would it be appropriate for Jesus to know at any point before the Father indicated that it was “time”? Think about this as we (fallen humans) would see it. The betrothal period was effectively to insure that the bride was pure. Both that she had not been (nor currently was) with someone else, but also that they as a promised couple had not been together before the wedding. As fallen as we are, how many couples would wait until it was obvious that she had not been with someone before the engagement, and then knowing that it would not be obvious for yet a further time would take advantage of a stolen moment? It would show the highest possible level of trust between the son and the father if the son unwaveringly waited until he got the green light from his father that it was time to begin the wedding. Honestly, not even caring when “time” was, so much as the importance of knowing that his father knew that both he and his bride were in fact pure. This would also show that the father would be keenly aware of the state of the bride in that if anyone should mistreat her in any other way, that the son would have the father’s full authority to execute full judgment on those who dared to mistreat her.
When Jesus tells us to watch, stay awake, be alert with Him; it is likely that there is something very big, an enemy very dark, and / or something very important that is going on or about to happen that if we could see past our mortal eyes we would be astounded at what He is about to do. Keep our garments lest we walk naked and our shame be seen. He provides that covering for us.
“And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38 KJV)