We’re looking at the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ as recorded by Mark’s Gospel. Jesus and His disciples have just finished the Last Supper and were heading out to the Mount of Olives.
As they walked along, Jesus had some sobering words for them.
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today — yes, tonight — before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
The Lord predicts that none will stand with Him in His final hours. That thought shocked them, especially Peter. He couldn’t imagine that he would ever deny knowing Christ. But very soon he would find out how far off his self-assessment was.
I think that we focus on Peter too much when we read this passage. After all, we would know better than to deny knowing the Lord. Or, would we? Let’s think about what’s happening here.
Jesus quotes a Scriptural truth to His disciples. He tells them that when the Shepherd it struck, the sheep are scattered. He was referring to the disciples as the sheep.
However, Jesus was using this verse to prove His first statement that they would all fall away. That literally means that they would all be offended, or tripped up. It was being offended that caused the sheep to leave the side of the Shepherd.
This didn’t mean that they stopped loving or following Christ, they just didn’t want to stand too close to Him. They didn’t want the hatred of the leaders to be against themselves.
In our society, right now, there’s a definite hatred against the name of Jesus Christ. Any mention of Christ or the teaching of Scripture and they begin to shut down and stop listening. So, what’s our response?
I’ve found that in many cases we start to distance ourselves from Christ. For instance, there are many singers and entertainers who profess Christ – privately. I’m frequently told of one or another who are Christians.
The problem is that by watching the movies they’re in or hearing the songs they record, I would never have known. Even in their interviews, they may only make a slight reference to God.
Of course, it’s not just those in the media. What about “regular” Christians? What happens when people ask us about our views on evolution, homosexuality, abortion, or other controversial topics? Do we simply shrug our shoulders and stay silent?
Please understand that I’m not talking about being offensive and attacking others with Scripture. The world has a very good idea of what Christ and the Bible teaches. As believers, we need to be willing to stand with Christ and take any heat the world may bring on account of this.
We need to pray for boldness in our generation. In that way, when the world strikes at our Shepherd, we will stand with Him.
Question: How have you been hurt for standing with Christ and His Word?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi