Theme: The source of true courage.
This week’s lessons show us the importance of depending on Jesus.
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
The last sentence of this account is a sad one. Despite their protests about standing by him to the end, in the end the disciples fled into the darkness of the garden. The text says, “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled” (v. 56). Jesus had said that the writings of the prophets had to be fulfilled. But here, even before he had fulfilled the most important prophecies by dying, the disciples fulfilled at least one of them by fleeing. Jesus had referred to it on the way to the garden. “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Matthew 26:31, quoting Zechariah 13:7)
Moments before they had been sleeping rather than praying. Now they were fleeing rather than standing by their Lord. Do you want to know what you are made of what kind of courage you have? Look at these men in that moment, That is what you are. Like them you are weak and fearful, more concerned for your own well-being than for Jesus.
But look at them again a few weeks later, after the resurrection. Look at Peter, who struck with his sword, fled into the darkness, and then told a servant girl that he did not even know the Lord. See him at Pentecost as he stands before some of these very people, saying, “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Look at Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, the same judicial body that had condemned Jesus to death. They cry, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
What a difference the presence and power of Jesus Christ makes. He is able to turn cowards into heroes, foolish persons into those who are wise, and sinners into Saints. He will do it for you, if you will turn from your foolish self-confidence, embrace the gospel and lean on him for your daily strength and courage.
How did Peter change in the time between Jesus’ arrest and Pentecost?
Jesus Christ is able to turn cowards into heroes, foolish persons into those who are wise, and sinners into saints.
Ask God to give you a heart that would care more for his glory than for your own gain.