Jesus said - Keep Watch!

The disciples came to Jesus and asked, what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (Matthew 24:3) In His response He gave two major commands.

First, "Watch out that no one deceives you (Matthew 24:4). 

Second, keep watch (Matthew 24:42).

What did Jesus mean when He said keep watch?

The disciples asked him for a sign of His Second Coming and Jesus described several signs and events that would lead up to His return. After describing these things, He told them to keep watch. He also gave them an analogy as He had done so many times before.  He said,

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (Matthew 24:32-34).

First, Jesus had already told His followers about all the things that they would see before His return and then He said, keep watch.  

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? (Matthew 24:35-45).

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' (Mark 13:33-37)

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13).

From what is written we can understand what Jesus means when He says keep watch?  He is saying that there are many cares and concerns in this life which tend to distract and deceive us from the Kingdom of God.  However, He expects His followers to remain alert and keep watch for the things He told us about. Then we will not be surprised by His return. Jesus even warns us saying, See, I have told you ahead of time (Matthew 24:25).

The Apostle Paul also warned us to keep watch, be on your guard!

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! (Acts 20:26-31)

Richard H Perry