Watch and Pray

Jesus urges us all to be careful that the worries of life don’t distract us from trusting in him. 

Luke 21:34 – 36

34 ‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.’

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Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the lost.  He lived a perfect life for his people, went to the cross to die in their place and then gloriously rose again to provide new and eternal life.  That is the good news he brought.  In the previous section the Lord has warned that when all is looking chaotic people need to listen carefully to him.  All else will fail but his words will not pass away.  The big danger is that people can hear that and then proceed with life by ignoring it. 

In this section Jesus tells all, “Watch yourselves”, and then proceeds to present some common ways of people being “weighed down” instead of alert and listening to his words.  He uses two terms which cover a similar idea, “carousing” and “drunkenness”.  Faced with the troubles of the world, and the need to listen to Jesus and believe in him, many will just try to escape.  Partying, being entertained, being distracted and intoxicated are all excellent ways of being weighed down and forgetting reality.  Jesus is saying, watch yourselves and be alert to the grim realities. 

Jesus adds to carousing and drunkenness, “the anxieties of life”.  That is, instead of escaping it is easy to look at all the problems of the world but forget or ignore the hope in Christ.  He envisages people being so troubled by how they can survive in chaos that they do not flee to Jesus who came to bring rescue for them. 

The earnest message of Jesus has been, always, that people come to him for eternal security and peace with God.  While people try to escape that need or just worry about how difficult their life is but don’t flee to him, they remain vulnerable as lost, unsaved sinners. Therefore, Jesus warns them, that “that day” will come on them suddenly.  “That day” is the day of judgement, whether in a small-scale form of the destruction of Jerusalem or the ultimate great day of judgement for all of history. He speaks of it as snare because he is addressing people who have not made use of the rescue by Jesus and are then trapped and without hope.  In case any think it doesn’t apply to them he adds, “For it will come on all who live on the face of the earth.” 

Verse 36 is an encouragement and comfort for us.  He tells us always to be on the alert and to be constantly praying that we will escape what is to come.  In its context, our Lord is urging us all to keep crying out that we might know the mercy and love of God that comes through his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus.  In other words, he is telling us to continue in a normal Christian life in which we keep prayerfully trusting in him even in the face of the greatest trials. 

The message for us is clear.  Believe in the Lord Jesus. Don’t try to hide from the realities of life.  Don’t focus on the problems of life and fail to flee to Christ. Do get on with life trusting in Jesus. Know that you will be able to stand before Jesus forgiven and clothed in his righteousness.

Head: Remember you are perfectly saved by Jesus

Heart: Know the peace of God always

Hands: Watch and pray

Prayer: Father, help me to be alert, resting in Jesus and constantly praying that you would keep the focus of my life on Jesus.  Please guard me against the burdens of escape and worry and help me instead to live for Jesus my Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.

Song to listen to: Christ Alone 

David Johnston 

Living Church – Creek Road