Readings for the Day
2 Samuel 17, Psalms 71, Matthew 26
Verses for the Day
"Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." Matthew 26:56
Of course the context for the verse of the day is Jesus' last night, as he shares the Last Supper and goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. In these hours we see the humanness of Jesus. He is deeply sorrowful to the point of death. He feels alone and asks the disciples to stay with him and watch in prayer. As He goes to plead with the Father about what the night will eventually bring, all his disciples can do is sleep. Meanwhile Judas' act of betrayal brings an army sent by the high priests to arrest Jesus armed with swords and clubs. They are expecting a fight. One of Jesus companions cuts the ear off one of the men, and what does Jesus do? The situation is ripe for an all out fight, but Jesus tells the man to put back his sword.
Then, he explains that if he wanted he could call down legions of angels to bail him out. It is at this point we see the verse for the day, "Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." Why? I think the disciples finally realized the true nature of Jesus' mission. He had explained earlier to the disciples that he would be handed over to and crucified by the Jews. But I think the disciples still had hope that Jesus would be a political Messiah delivering them from their powerful enemy, the Romans. When they realize he is not, they begin to realize their lives might be on the line too. If Jesus was going to lay down his life, they might have to follow suit. And so it is not so surprising when it says they deserted him and fled. He was no longer conforming to their agenda so they deserted him.
When normally focus on Peter's denial and make him the scapegoat. How could he deny him three times, when he had promised to defend him to his death. But the above verses show us ALL of the disciples did the same.
A question for us might be when do I desert Jesus and flee? Does our relationship change when following him brings us into personal hardship? Is Jesus there to fit our agenda for what we want him to do for us? Or, do we say Jesus "I will follow you even when I don't understand what you are asking me to do."
I think there is a little bit of the disciples in all of us. I know there is for me. I am comfortable following Jesus when it is comfortable, but when he calls me to do something uncomfortable, I wonder is this something he really wants me to do. Ultimately Jesus' mission was to go the cross. In the garden, we see how gut wrenching it was for him to accept the Father's will. But ultimately when He allowed God's will to be His will, he fulfilled his mission on the earth.