Two and a half years ago, I wrote a brief post—Keep Alert—that quoted Jesus encouraging his disciples to keep alert. I often think about Jesus’ encouragement to keep alert. It fits well with what I wrote to start this Lenten season—Whoever Has Ears … listen, pay attention, don’t miss this!
This is not an exhaustive word study, but the word “alert” appears in the Common English Bible (CEB) 18 times—five times as “keep alert,” twelve times as “stay alert,” and once on its own (“Happy are those he finds alert …” Luke 12.38). Fifteen of these occurrences are in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and the remaining three in Acts, Ephesians, and 1 Peter.
Here’s a sampling of Scriptures (from the CEB) encouraging us to be alert …
Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know what day the Lord is coming. (Matthew 24.42)
Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me?” (Matthew 26.38-40)
What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert! (Mark 13.37)
Stay alert at all times, praying that you are strong enough to escape everything that is about to happen … (Luke 21.36)
Stay alert! Remember that for three years I constantly and tearfully warned each one of you. I never stopped warning you! (Acts 20.31)
Peter was one of the guys who had trouble staying alert in the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s no wonder that he warns Jesus followers about the need to keep alert …
Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5.8)
Yes. We must pay attention. We must stay alert!