You Will Fall Away

April 1, 2022

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now?” Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 14:27-28; John 13:36-37). 

I have often wondered what I would have thought and how I would have felt had I been one of the disciples with Jesus on that last Passover gathering. On the one hand, enjoying fellowship with my friends and fellow disciples, observing the sacred Passover, being with Jesus away from the crowds, the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees - that would have been a joy-filled occasion. On the other hand, there were so many things taking place, and so many things being said that would have disturbed, distracted, and discouraged me - that would have caused me to wonder “What’s going on?” and “Why am I not able to understand what Jesus is talking about?”

The ‘negative’ words of Jesus hit hard like a hammer on an anvil. “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” “You are clean, but not every one of you.” “Truly, I say to you, the hand of him who betrays Me is with Me on the table, one of the twelve who is dipping bread into the dish and eating with Me.” “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” And now this, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” Words that cut to the heart, that troubled the mind and spirit.

You will all fall away because of Me this night. The words ‘fall away’ are a single word in the Greek language - skandalizo, from which the English words ‘scandal’ or ‘scandalize’ are derived. It means to set a trap, to trip up, cause to stumble; to entice to sin or to apostatize (to turn away from); to greatly offend. Jesus told the disciples they would soon encounter an obstacle that would cause them to spiritually stumble and turn away from their loyalty to Him. In the upper room they were bewildered that He would speak of His impending death. Later on that night and the next morning they would be shocked beyond belief that He would actually be arrested, condemned, and crucified. For fear of their own lives, they ran from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was arrested, and hid lest they would face the same fate. 

Jesus risked everything for them, and for us. He faced the brutality of Satan, sin, the wrath of God, and death for them and us. The disciples, and we, risk very little in comparison. His courage and strength were truly divine. Ours is sadly human - limited, conditional, weak. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to rise up and stand, defending the Gospel and advancing the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May we be so filled and faithful. Amen.


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