The incident narrated in the gospel of Matthew 14: 25-33 is well known to all of us. When the disciples were terrified due to the wind in the sea, the Lord came to them walking in the lake during the fourth watch of the night.
When the Lord came, the wind died and the silence was restored in the ocean. This miracle was performed by the Lord at night, precisely at the fourth watch.
Let’s do some in-depth analysis on the night time or watches of the night.
There are actually four watches of the night – 6 pm – 9 pm is the first watch. 9 pm to 12 am is the second watch or the mid watch. 12 am to 3 am is the third watch and 3 am to 6 am is the fourth watch.
When the disciples were in fear, the Lord came to them only at the fourth watch. There are three watches that the disciples had to cross to have the Lord come to them and save them from the wind.
Let’s see what the three watches mean in our spiritual life so that we would know what the Lord expects us to hold on to!
The first watch
Let’s refer to Lamentations 2:19, where we read that the Lord wants us to pour out our heart like water in His presence. As an example we can refer to the case of Hagar when she lost everything. She began to sob and called unto the Lord. The Lord saw Hagar and heard her prayer and answered her (Genesis 21: 14).
Another example would be the case of Hannah where she poured her heart in the Lord’s presence (1 Samuel 1: 9-12). The Lord heard Hannah’s prayer and granted what she asked for.
The third example is Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:1) who wept bitterly to the Lord and requested that he may not die as the Lord told him.
Hearing his prayer, the Lord added 15 years to his life. The Lord changed His mind.
When the people of Nineveh poured their heart and humbled themselves before the Lord, again, the Lord changed His mind and did not destroy Nineveh as He told earlier.
When we pray by pouring our heart to the Lord, that prayer has the power of making the Lord change His mind.
In addition, when Hezekiah prayed, he mentioned that he did everything that pleased the Lord. In 2 Kings 18: 4, we learn that he removed the high places (worldly pride), he got rid of sacred stones (idol worship), Asherah poles (sexual immorality), the bronze snake (having and worshiping the idols of the Lord Himself), etc.
Coming back to the case of pouring the heart, Jonah is another example, who prayed from inside the fish.
The second watch
This is also called as the middle watch. In Judges we read an incident in chapter 7 verse 19. In order to conquer the enemy, the Lord wants His people to break the jars (this might sound weird).
This means that we should break through the desires of our body/flesh as we read in 2 Corinthians 4: 7. As we read in Zechariah 14:21, the pots represent our body/flesh/blood. Galatians chapter 5 verse 19 lists the deeds of our blood and flesh.
The deed of the second or mid watch is to destroy the list of things mentioned in Galatians 5:19.
The third watch
In Luke 12: 38, we read that we must be vigilant, aware and ready to meet the Lord (who might come either during the second or the third watch).
We must possess the necessary gifts and vigilance and be prepared to do the Lord’s ministry – just as the 5 virgins who carried extra oil with them.
- We must be prepared for Lord’s will (which is that everyone be saved, Luke 12: 47).
- We must be prepared for the communion.
- We must be prepared for the passover (Matthew 26: 19).
- We must be prepared to spread the Gospel (Ephesians 6: 15).
- We must be prepared to do good deeds (2 Timothy 2: 21). We must also purify ourselves to do the good work.
- Also we must be prepared to go through pain and trouble in the name of gospel. An example of this is Stephen.
Do you have the qualities that are analogous to the three watches that we discussed here? If not, we must develop these qualities so that the Lord will walk to us and save us from the worldly chaos!