About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Intently Watching For Jesus


My friend says that when he speaks to fellow Christians about the events leading to Jesus' return to earth, he often gets a "hoe hum" response.  People say such things as, "God is in control.  We don't have to concern ourselves with these things."  We know God is in control.  That's not the issue.  What these people are really saying is this.  "End time events are too hard to figure out, so I don't try.  God is in control anyway.  Whatever happens will happen.  Hoe hum, I've got things to do.  See you later."  


The issue is all about obeying Jesus.  As I pointed out in a previous article, Mark 13:33 tells us to "watch" for Jesus' return. (KJV)  The Greek word that is translated as "watch" in this instance is "agrupneo".  This word simply means "to be sleepless".  All words have a primary meaning.  Words can also have a secondary meaning when used figuratively.  For example, young people today might say, "that car is wicked".  The car isn't really wicked in the true sense of the word.  It's wicked in a figurative sense.  Wicked in this context means the car is impressive or awesome.


In Mark 13:33 the Greek word "agrupneo", or, the English word "watch", is used figuratively.  The figurative definition means "to watch intently".  So, when one watches for Jesus' return, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will lose sleep, as the primary definition of "agrupneo" suggests, although losing sleep could be possible.         


W. E. Vine, in his Expository of New Testament words says the following about "agrupneo".  "The word expresses not merely wakefulness, but the watchfulness of those who are intent upon a thing."  Notice the words "intent upon a thing".  There is no "hoe hum" laxity in Jesus' command for us to watch. We are to "intently watch" for His return.  We are to focus our attention on His return.  


Our concept of watching might well be more passive than in New Testament days.  For example, we sit back and watch television.  That's passive.  In the first century, and throughout the Old Testament, watching was more active.  They probably equated watching with the watchmen on the city wall, watching intently for an enemy attack.  It's this kind of watching that Jesus expects of us.        


Luke uses the same Greek word in Luke 21:36 in the same end time context.  Luke records Jesus to say that we should both "watch and pray" so we can escape the terrible events of the last days . (KJV and NIV)  I'd suggest the terrible events listed in the book of Revelation are worth "intently watching out for".  If we have a "hoe hum, whatever will happen will happen" attitude about these events, we're not intently watching as Jesus commands.


Note the word "pray" in Luke 21:36, as in "watch and pray".  Some translations use the word "beg", not pray, and for good reason.  The Greek denotes an asking based on great need, much like a starving person would beg for food.  The idea of begging to escape these end time calamities helps support the idea that we need to be "intently watching" for these calamities.  A starving person doesn't sit back and passively hope for food.   He actively begs for food from all those who pass by.   


For those who are interested, Matthew 24:42 tells us to "keep watch" because we don't know on what day Jesus will return.  The Greek word that is translated as "watch" here is not the same word we see in Mark 13:33 or Luke 21:36.  It's the word "gregoreo", which simply means "to watch".  There are actually five different Greek words that are translated as "watch" in our English New Testament.


I think I can safely say that we are not to have a "hoe hum" attitude towards the events leading to Christ's return.  It is clear to me that we should be intently watching for, or focused on,  Jesus' return.  That means we must have some knowledge of end time events, even if we don't fully comprehend their meaning.  Jesus, in John 16:4 said, "I have told you this, that when the time comes you will remember that I have warned you."   So it is with end time events.  We may not fully understand them right now, but when they take place, we will, because we will remember them from Biblical prophecy.  That's assuming we've studied these things.


Besides all of that, if Jesus is our Lord and our beloved bridegroom, don't you think it's only reasonable to be fascinated with His coming to earth for us?  I sure think so.        

Home Page