Anne Amels- 2015
“Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.” Matthew 26:23
“Peter replied, “Even if all fall away, on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:33
Immediately preceding these two verses Jesus is reclining with His disciples breaking bread, sharing his final meal with them. The mood had to be somber for Jesus knowing in great detail the pain and discomfort he was about to endure. But for the disciples, with only a hint of what was to come, they must have been struggling with the concept of Jesus being crucified as he predicted earlier in chapter 26. They must have been even more confused when Jesus began to challenge their loyalty and declare that one of them would betray Him and that one would disown Him. Judas protested mildly, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
While Peter urgently declared “I never will.” This had to be a confusing time for the disciples, but what a painful time for Jesus. Knowing the pain he was to endure, he also had to endure his friends all falling away (verse 33) on account of Him. Jesus had to endure his punishment, our opportunity for salvation, utterly alone.
The pain of knowing not only separation from His friends, but also knowing ultimately that separation from His Father was coming, was almost too much to bear (verse 39). Thankfully for Christians worldwide, for all time, He did suffer that separation. Through that separation the opportunity of salvation is freely placed before all who confess His name.
Being totally dependent on another is a difficult place to be. Most of us would rather be the caregiver than the care-receiver. But, what a wonderful place to be as the receiver of something we could never earn. Understanding that gift and understanding the magnitude of our need, is a lifelong learning experience. Thank you Jesus for bearing the weight of our sins on the cross. Thank you for the free gift of salvation.