Yesterday I asked the question: why would Judas betray Jesus? Today we see that not only was Jesus betrayed by a close disciple, but that at the point of Jesus’s arrest, not a single one of them stood by him. They all ran away. Jesus knew this in advance. Of course he did! He was the only one who could clearly see the events which were about to unfold. Had all the other disciples realised the enormity of what Jesus was talking about, then they too, like Judas, could have seen what was coming. Once they did see the cold, harsh reality of Jesus’s arrest, they would have known exactly what terrors were in store for anyone openly defending or supporting Jesus. And so, inevitably, they all ran away.
Mark 14:42-52 NLT
Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss. Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfil what the Scriptures say about me.” Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
The disciples ran away and deserted Jesus rather than face torture and execution. I imagine myself in their position and I see myself doing the same. However, later on we see the first Christian martyrs. Those who don’t run, but stand by their Lord and proclaim the name of Jesus. This can only happen after Jesus’s death and resurrection. Jesus died, yes, but he then rose from the dead and thus, conquered the power of death.
Dear Lord and Father, I pray that when the day comes when I have to choose between running away or standing up for Jesus, I will remember my salvation. I pray that when it comes to the crunch, I will trust in Jesus’s victory over death so that, what ever the threat, I can stand firm. Amen.
Numbers 11:24-13:33, Mark 14:22-52, Psalms 52:1-9, Proverbs 11:1-3