“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.” Matthew 26:31
As much as we would hate to admit it, we are not as spiritually strong as we would like to admit. We consider ourselves good and mature in our faith but find ourselves yielding to the pressure when we find ourselves the minority in the marketplace. Many a believer has tried to fit with the crowd when we should have boldly, but lovingly revealed our allegiance to the Lord.
This quote of Jesus on the night He was betrayed is actually a prophecy found in Zechariah 13:7. Hundreds of years before the event, it was expected that all would forsake Jesus. In the end, He was very much alone as he faced the consequences of the sin of the world. Much may be made of Peter’s denial of Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest, but every disciple reacted to the dreadful night with fear, cowardice and impotence.
For three years the disciples had lived with Jesus and enjoyed the popularity. A regular discussion centered on who was the best disciple. Without comprehending the cross, some will even ask for places of honor when Jesus comes into His kingdom. They have confessed Christ as Savior without recognizing that they could not live up to the expectations of the kingdom without help. It is not until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that the disciples discover the indwelling presence of God is the power needed to face the uncertainty and threat of life.
There is a sense in which this scattering of the flock was a positive experience in that each disciple needs to be aware of their weaknesses so they will seek God’s power and presence to carry out their assignment.
A few years ago, twenty-one Coptic Christians were beheaded on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Often, I have pondered that event and wondered how I would respond. Would I be strong, or would I be a whimpering coward? No one knows how they will respond under pressure.
But a positive step to prepare for faithful living is to accept our ineptness to be what we ought to be in our ability. The Christian life must be lived in complete submission and reliance on the work of God in ourselves.
Because of their moment of weakness, the disciples reflect an even more dynamic change when the Spirit empowers them. If you have failed in the past, know the Lord has not given up on your effectiveness. Talk to the Lord about your feelings of failure and let Him give you another chance. He is not finished with you, yet. You are still here for a purpose. Try again.