Question: Help to understand a difficult context
What is the meaning of Matthew 26:38? What does Jesus mean by saying ‘stay here and keep watch with me’?
When Jesus appointed the Twelve, it was His desire that they will be with Him till the end (Mark 3:14–15). He wanted the Twelve to be with Him even as He went through the Gethsemane experience. He wanted them to keep their fellowship with Him till the end. He was lonely and felt all alone and wanted His disciples to be with Him during His hours of trial. In spite of the knowledge He had that they will all run away from Him at the height of His difficulties, He still wanted them to be with Him for as long as they could. The word used here is “watch” with me and it literally means to abstain from sleep. He also wanted them to be vigilant or guard against danger. It also means to sympathize with Him, to unite with Him in seeking divine support for the ‘hour’ to pass and to prepare them for approaching dangers. But what we see is that they all slept while their Master suffered agony in Gethsemane and when He was arrested, they all ran away from Him. At the finest hour, He was all alone to suffer and be crucified. He stood alone in front of the rulers and the religious leaders, carried the cross all alone and faced all challenges, despising, mockery and physical persecution and finally the three hours of darkness all alone.
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