Matt. 26:31-56 Disciples Scattered & Jesus Arrested
Part of me was distressed that, once again, it seemed that the disciples at the moment of the savior’s great need were not able so much as just stay awake with him while he prayed. Who knows whether they had any appreciation for what had just happened, the Last Supper, or the events that were about to transpire. If there’s a doubt about the historicity of these passages, one would think that the gospel writers would make the apostles at least a bit more heroic instead of portraying them so completely human, so unable to grasp what was happening all around them and with whom they were dealing with.
Peter had confessed who Jesus was (Matt. 16:16) and they had left their lives to spend three years with him. But I get the impression that they felt like they were following a great teacher, albeit not one respected by the religious or community leaders. A great teacher and miracle-worker, blessed by God. In the context of the time, I don’t doubt that they had all heard stories of others who had come before who had claimed to be The Annointed of God (Matt 24:24), so I’m not surprised that they underestimate who Jesus really is and what he is about to accomplish.
I don’t see Peter’s proclamation that he’d never deny Jesus as empty bravado, but just that gap between the good we want to do when called upon and our lack of really understanding what’s going on around us. We assess the situation in our limited scope and when the odds seem to turn against us, we flee. Peter intended to defend his teacher to the point of cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers, but quietly standing beside his master as they took him away was not within him or the other disciples and they all fled into the night. So I’m left to see two things. Jesus knows us through and through, apparently better than we know ourselves. The second is that, even in the moment when foretold of their failure, he dsaid that he would meet them again after his resurrection and join them in Galilee. He extended the hand of forgiveness and hope, in that He would be waiting for them when He finished doing what he came for. Even within their small world, their small grasp of what He was going to accomplish, He offered them a small window into their reunion in Galilee (John 21:1-23). In the darkest of hours, when we completely fail, there is always hope and One who will never leave us or abandon us, even when we fail him. JBB
Music: I Am Your Child from the album “VC 56 Sweetly Broken” by Jude Del Hiero