In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spent a few hours warning about imminent temptation, warning Peter about his denials, telling them they needed to be alert and to be praying so they didn’t fall into temptation. So the warnings were issued and the stakes were high. “
“And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.’
“As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.
“Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’” (Mark 14:43-49)
Times were changing. Trouble had come into the Garden and was now here. For example…
- One of their trusted friends and companions – Judas Iscariot – betrayed the disciples’ friendship and became a traitor of the Son of Man.
- Jesus had warned the disciples of His imminent departure from Earth.
- The disciples were awaiting great persecution, hatred and banishment from the synagogues.
- Peter – their fearless leader – was told he would deny having any knowledge or relationship with the one who devoted His own life to him.
Trouble had invaded the world of the disciples. What were they to do? What mind-boggling strategy would they conceive in order to deal with these troubles? How would they manage? Would they flee or exercise faith? The next verse gives us the sad answer.
“Then they all forsook Him and fled.” (Mark 14:50).
Their faith collapsed and, as a result, they fled the seen. They feared their own capture and testing of faith so they took the easy way out and ran off.
What do you do when something so frightening invades your life? What happens when someone questions or challenges your faith or your integrity? How do you handle the scenario of having an unsaved family member tell you that you are wasting your time with this “Christianity thing?” What do you do when all the professing Christians around you are making foolish or faith-compromising decisions?
Here is what you should do:
“1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face” (Ps 11).