Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:47-68
How many of you have ever been let down by a person? Of course. It goes with being a person. Somewhere along the way, in the process of getting to know another person, you learn something about that person or see something that disappoints you. The longer you know them, the more disappointing things you know. Friendship is when you begin to learn those things but still hang around with someone. Still, those let-downs can be tough to deal with when you’re under pressure. Jesus had dealt with disappointments in His closest followers for some 3 years up to this point. But in the garden, He would be faced with the greatest of let-downs.
It starts with the disciples not being able to stay awake. Jesus urges them to “keep watch.” It’s a word that means just the opposite of sleep – keep awake, be vigilant, be on guard. But after He’s been struggling alone in prayer, He returns to find them all asleep, 3 times. The pressures of the past several days, and now this late night, have taken their toll. Finally, He wakes them and tells them it’s time. Sure enough, a mob has come to arrest Him. Judas approaches to identify Jesus. He isn’t greeting Him and giving Him a greeting kiss because He loves him. You can hear the disappointment as Jesus says, “You’re going to betray me with a kiss?” As soon as they advance to grab Jesus, Peter whips out a sword to take them all on. He tries to kill one of them, and Jesus has to tell Him to put the sword away. It’s not the way His Kingdom is going to conquer. Imagine the disappointment that Jesus felt as Peter just didn’t get it. Then, when they see that Jesus isn’t going to resist, “Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56b) Jesus had known this ahead of time. He had told them earlier, Matthew 26: 31-34.
Imagine the sense of abandonment Jesus felt as He watched His closest friends running away into the night. We’ve all been disappointed by people. It’s a problem we’ll face sooner or later unless you’re a hermit – and if you are a hermit, it’s probably because you’ve been disappointed by people!
Isn’t it interesting, for all of the times they disappointed Him, for all of the frustration Jesus must have felt as He worked to prepare the men who would become His Apostles when it came down to the end, what did Jesus do? He surrounded Himself with His closest friends – those men.
We need the fellowship of believers, and we especially need it when we face troubling times. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. God has given us each other as a help.
How can you guard your fellowship with other believers?