What are we watching and waiting for?

“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

Mark 13:37

“In Mark 13:37, Jesus Christ commands us to watch: “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” The Greek word here, gregoreuo, translated as “watch,” is in the imperative mood, expressing a command by the order and authority of the one commanding. Thus, it is an unequivocal command to all by the order of our authority, Jesus Christ, that therefore requires strict attention and obedience by us all.

Are we obeying His command to watch? Do we know what Christ is commanding us to do? Many do not. Because this is a direct and emphatic command by our Savior, it is vital that we know.

Christ uses this Greek word for “watch” fourteen times in the Gospels. To get a clear picture of what He means by it, notice the context each time that He commands us to watch” (gregoreuo is in bold in the verses that follow):

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Matthew 24:42-44

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

Matthew 25:13

It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! – Mark 13:34-37

“Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Luke 12:37-40

Two clear thoughts run through all these examples where Christ uses “watch.” First, we do not know when He will return. Second, we should be watching so that we are ready no matter when that happens.

Watching is serious business and is necessary to our being ready for His immediate return in our lives. While in these verses He commands us to watch as the way we prepare for His return, He does not tell us what that means.

Thankfully, Christ practices what He preaches. By His example, He shows us what He means by watching, and we are to follow that example (I Peter 2:21). Notice the remainder of the fourteen uses of “watch” by Jesus in the Gospels (again, gregoreuo is in bold in the verses that follow):

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matthew 26:38-44; an additional three usages appear in Mark 14:34-39)

Here, we see that Jesus is watching and asking the disciples to watch along with Him. Just as He commands us to watch to be prepared for the biggest event in our lives, He watched to be prepared for the biggest event in His human life.

Conversely, His disciples did not watch but instead slept! Learn the lesson. They did not watch. They did not prepare. As a consequence, they failed miserably (Matthew 26:56, 69-75; Mark 14:50-52).

What did Jesus do while watching that His disciples did not do? How did He watch? We see here that watching is about spiritual preparation that, in this case, consists of intense prayer. On a broader scale, He spent a lifetime watching His human nature so closely that He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). In these last hours, He intensified His watching in the extreme, as recorded in Luke 22:41-44:

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

By His example, Jesus shows us that watching is about spiritual preparation. He also stresses that same point the last time in the Bible He uses the word “watch,” gregoreuo: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).

Just as He does in the many verses we saw above, He warns us that He comes as a thief, in a day and hour we know not. Here, He emphasizes what we are to watch—our garments, our character. We are to be removing every spot and wrinkle from them (Ephesians 5:27; II Peter 3:14). We want to be sure there are no holes in our character (James 5:2) when He returns.

Therefore, here in Revelation 16:15 and by His example, we see that watching is all about spiritual preparation. He consistently links watching with His return. There is no hint of anything else in Jesus’ use of the word “watch” (see also Revelation 3:3, where He underscores watching as required spiritual preparation for His sudden return). Thus, we see that when Christ says “watch,” He is commanding us to be spiritually prepared for His return no matter how sudden and unexpected it may be in our lives.”

— Pat Higgins (reposted with permission) –  The Berean www.berean@cgg.org


Of course, for most Christians we anxiously await the Coming of the Lord, not at Armageddon but rather at the Rapture PRIOR to the 7 year Tribulation Period where the world will experience the absolute worst events in all of history. If you were not saved prior to the Tribulation but came to know Jesus after the Rapture, yes you also anxiously await His Return at His Second Coming at the Battle of Armageddon. But, please remember what John was told to tell us in the Book of Revelation:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

Revelation 3:10

Jesus DOES NOT want us to endure God’s Wrath. His love for us is so great all He asks of us to be redeemed of our sins so we can enter Heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask for forgiveness of our sins. As I have said so many times before, it doesn’t get any simpler than that! He has given us a path to eternity in Heaven and that is comforting to know it is not by our works but by faith in Him. And, let’s never forget as we “watch” for what John told us in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things  which are written therein: FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND (capitals mine).” Accept His offer and you will be saved! If you agree, please share this with others so we may all continue to do what He has directly told us to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”

I know what I am watching and waiting for. Do you? May God continue to Bless you as we await His Return at the Rapture!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Nancy Laxton

    The “rapture” will not come before the tribulation. All through history, the saints have been kept by the hand of Christ through trials and tribulation, not shielded from it. Moses and the Israelites went through the sea and were saved. It may be comforting to think you will be whisked away before the “terrible and great day of the Lord”, but that is not what the Bible says. It says to “hold fast”, “stand”, and “endure until the end”. “He who endures until the end will be given a crown of righteousness”. All eyes will see the coming of Christ. It won’t be secret. The living wicked will call for the mountains to cover them to hide from His coming. Meanwhile, the dead in Christ shall arise first, they “we which remain shall meet them in the air…”. It all happens at His Second Coming. There is not a ‘secret’ coming, and then another coming. It’s just not in the Word!

    1. Mike Wigton

      Sorry Nancy, we have disagreed on this a number of times. Revelation 3:10 definitely refers to God’s promise to keep us from the wrath to come. It is followed in Revelation 4:1-2 by John in a moment, after hearing a loud trumpet, is told to “come up here” and he is immediately in Heaven which is what the Rapture is. After that the Church is not mentioned once on the earth. Sorry, the Rapture is clearly told to us it will occur before the Tribulation.

  2. EdC

    I say Amen and Amen!

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