In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Matthew 26: 55 – 56
This is the point at which every disciple betrayed Jesus. They all fled. Isn’t that a terrible thing to think about? But would we have done any better? This was a life-threatening situation, when they might also have been arrested. We would probably have run away as well.
The gospels make it very clear that the disciples were fallible human beings, just like us. They weren’t perfect, they misunderstood, their courage failed, and they made frequent mistakes. Sometimes those episodes are comic, and sometimes they’re absolutely tragic, like this one, where we see Jesus, alone, in the middle of a crowd of armed men.
The great thing about this is that we know the outcome. We know that despite these failures, the disciples were forgiven. They repented, and they were forgiven. Sometimes the hardest thing is for us to forgive ourselves and to forgive others when they fail us. But we need to remember, as God does, that we are just human. Jesus forgave his disciples, God forgives us, and we need to forgive others when they fail us and seek their forgiveness when we fail them.
Prayer: Lord, I’ve got to say that I fail you continually. Forgive me, I pray, and help me to forgive others who have failed me. Give me the grace not to hold grudges, and help me to apologise when I’ve failed other people. Help me not to expect perfection from myself or others, but to humbly pick myself up and start again. Amen
Action: have you been holding a grudge against someone else, or do you need to apologise to someone? If God offers you the opportunity of meeting them, try to rebuild the relationship with an apology or an offer of forgiveness.