Stand watch

April 14, 2022 | Abby Houtman

About the author: Abby recently joined ZPC with the March 2022 Inquirers Class. She loves spending time with family and friends, all things fitness related - including teaching and practicing yoga, doing improv comedy and helping women in sobriety through local recovery programs.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 14:32-52 

In today's scripture, the instruction from Jesus to his disciples as his “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” is simply that the disciples stand watch for him. We see Jesus turn his will and his very life over to Abba, his personally intimate Father, praying “yet not what I will, but what you will.” In sharp contrast to Jesus’ ultimate surrender, his three chosen disciples can not follow a seemingly simple request to keep watch. 

Not once, not twice, but three times in succession the selected disciples fail their beloved, suffering friend and master. This repeated failure to merely stand watch would be almost unfathomable to me, if not for my own repeated failings to stay alert and awake while my Master has visibly, powerfully been at work in my own life. Like the disciples in this passage, I have often not even known what to say of my failing to stand watch and awake while God takes on my suffering.

Yet, despite the repeated failings, Jesus says “Rise” and tells his chosen to focus on the urgency of the work at hand. His calling and love remain steadfast and Jesus' disciples are not cast aside, nor do they wallow in self-condemnation.

In this Holy Week, may we feel a renewed passion for his sacrifice, a sense of urgency about his instruction in our lives, and experience the joy and true rest that comes from standing watch, praying, and living out his will.


Thank you for steadfastly loving, forgiving, and guiding me. Help me that I may remain alert and respond with a sense of passion, urgency, and purpose to your calling. Relieve me of the bondage of self so that I may rise and do your will always.