Today's Reading: Mark 14:12-50
The darkest night in the entire story of the Bible...
If you've ever felt like you were betrayed and abandoned by a friend when you needed them most, you have some sense of what Jesus experience that night. He had spent the last 3 or so years with a small group of 12 young men teaching them everything they needed to know about his existence and purpose in life. Every single one of these 12 men were hand-picked, by Jesus, for this task. And being God, Jesus knew these men better than they knew themselves.
That's a piece of this story that may not sit well with us: Over the centuries Christians have come to vilify Judas and Peter and the others for running away and leaving Jesus to the Sanhedrin and the Romans. But Jesus picked these kids. Judas may be the worst of the worst, but to say that meant his entire life was a waste is probably going a bit to far. Within the circle of disciples, Judas was considered trustworthy, reliable, and a true disciple...even if he did have a life-long struggle with greed. Peter was pegged pretty early on as the leader of the group, even if he was revealed as a coward that night. In other words, these 12 were just like us.
There's are few things that feel worse in life than being abandoned by your friends. It makes you want to blow them off and say "Forget it!" And if I'm going to be honest, that's what I'v done in the past.
But that's not what Jesus did. Jesus came to die on a cross, to take the weight of the world's sin on himself, and then beat death at it's own game and return to life. He went out to the garden with his disciples in order to pray, and his disciples fell asleep. The temple guard arrived with their swords and looking threatening, and the disciples ran away. They said they'd die with and for him...but they ran.
And Jesus was alone...