“A life filled with Inspiration, expectation and enthusiasm comes from being alert and obedient to watch for the coming of the Lord

In Mark 13:37, Jesus Christ commands us to watch:

“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

Many translations, as it does here, add the exclamation point after the word “watch,” to convey the force of this command.

The Greek word here, gregoreuo, translated as “watch,” expressing a command by the order and authority of the one commanding it, that therefore requires strict attention and obedience by us all. It cannot be taken lightly.

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 strong command by our Saviour, 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

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.

When Does Christ Return?

Do we know when we are going to die? That is when Christ is going to return for us.

Consider that, for all who have already died, He has, in a sense, already returned for them.

I Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV) – For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Again, do we as individuals know when we will die? That could be today because of a fatal car accident or tonight while sleeping.

For this reason, watching is serious business and is necessary to our being ready for His immediate return in our lives.

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;


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

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 (NIV) – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin.

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.

“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

I want to remind you, just as He does in the many verses we saw above, He again 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

1 Thessalonians 5:23(LB) – May the God of peace Himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again.

II Peter 3:14 (NIV) – So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him

We want to be sure there are no holes in our character when He returns.

I Timothy 4:16 (NIV) – Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers

Therefore, 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”

Revelation 3:3 (NKJV) – Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  

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.

“Are we prepared for His return in our lives today?”

I Corinthians 16: 13 (NKJV) – Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

That is why we need to understand and heed daily the command given by Christ in Mark 13:37: “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”