Just hours from the cross, Jesus laid it all on the line. He had given His all, and all He asked from His friends was to keep watch with Him. “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me’” (Matthew 26:36-38 ESV). The Greek word for remain here is also translated as abide.
Note the use of abide:
- “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: 4-5).
- “As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2:24-29).
- “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18).
- “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13).
Abiding refers to a particular place; a particular time; and the condition of abiding. So it’s not merely an action, or lack of – like sitting and waiting. It’s an attitude. Some other insightful uses of the Greek are: to stay at home; and speaking to soldiers, to remain fast. There also is a sense of contentment and expectation within the word.
Jesus needed them to be there with Him. Unfortunately abiding can be like the old hound dog lying asleep at the feet of his master. And this was the role the disciples seemed to fit in too easily.
We would all like to think we could do better, waiting alongside the Lord, and not fall asleep, but probably not. We’d be texting, tweeting, or playing Candy Crush. It’s tough to wait. It’s very difficult to be still.
You are invited to abide in Him. What a wondrous word abide is — it describes your relationship with your great God. We are called to remain fast, to be content to abide in Him, and wait for His return.