33. Remain & Abide
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matthew 26:36-38)
Jesus has laid it all on the line, has given His all, and all He asks from His friends is to keep watch with Him.
The Greek word for remain here is also translated as abide. Note the use of abide in John 15:4-10
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
John continues this thinking in his first letter:
As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. ( 1 John 2:24-29)
But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and 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 staying put. So it’s not merely an action (or lack of), it is also an attitude. Other translations are to remain, tarry, and various forms of stay. Some other insightful uses of the Greek are: to stay at home; and speaking to soldiers, to stay and stand fast, also to wait for. Within this word is a sense of contentment—and expectation.
Do you see what a wondrous word this is as it describes the multifaceted fellowship that we have with our Great God? Is not Christ our home? Are we not in a battle; called to remain fast? Are we not supremely content to abide in Him, and wait for His return? And is there not a holy expectation for us to know Him more? Better? Deeper?
This is a fresh teaching which only precedes the Cross by a few hours. I think the disciples got this. He 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 slipped into, too easily. I’d like to think that you and I could do better, waiting along side the Lord, and not falling asleep. But probably not. We’d be texting, tweeting, talking, or playing Angry Birds. It’s tough to wait. It’s hard to be still. And yet, that is what God asks us to do even now. Psalm 46:10 says: Be still and know that I am God. What an awesome privilege we have to be still and know… Him.