During the last several weeks, while I’ve been focused on the Resurrection of Christ (and events surrounding that), some facts emerged which I’d not really thought about seriously before. They seem to deserve closer attention, so, here goes:
1. Almost all the men (Peter and the respected Apostles, the “pillars” of the Church,) waffled. They crumpled under pressure.
Joseph of Arimathea was an exception, and perhaps the reason he was not captured and punished may have been because he was a respected member of the leaders of the Jewish community. It seems also that Nicodemus (Remember him from chapter 3 of the Gospel of John?), also emerged from the shadows, even if only briefly. For a long time, I’ve felt that God doesn’t have any secret, undercover agents. Sooner or later, their identity will be known.
The Biblical story does not flatter this ‘Band of Brothers:’ “The disciples forsook him and fled. A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; but he escaped naked, leaving the linen behind.” (See Mark 14:50 & 51). Then he took off in the dark, dodging trees and bushes looking for a place to hide. Many scholars believe this young man was Mark.** With Peter’s help, he’s also considered to be the writer of the book bearing his name. It seems, perhaps because of modesty or embarrassment, Mark chose not to identify himself in this scene, although the incident certainly lends creditility to his record of the events. He was there. Even if he failed to measure up, he knew what he’d seen and heard and reported it accurately. I’d have been embarrassed, too! Wouldn’t you? It’s bad enough to feel like a coward, but to be caught sneaking around and streaking under those circumstances!?
What if one of the police had turned on a searchlight at that precise moment? And there was no fig leaf for cover and no rock to crawl under!
While this was happening, Peter tagged along behind the ‘respected’ religious and civil authorites, but at a safe distance. (“Then took they him (Jesus), and led him, and brought him unto the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.” Luke 22:54). After the arresting soldiers and brave officials arrived at their destination, Peter tried unsuccessfully to blend in with the crowd outside the place where a mock trial was being conducted. He stuck out like a sore thumb! When he was recognized, he denied being a follower of Christ. Emphatically! Three times he did that, the third underscored with convincing profanity. Most sailors and fishermen I’ve known can cuss proficiently!
An Afterthought: For the most part, the record clearly shows the men disappeared into the shadows. In spite of their boasts, they vanished. They kept a safe distance, or retreated to an apartment essentially hiding, waiting for the footfalls of the Roman soldiers coming to arrest them. John appears to be the only exception, as one of the accounts reported he stood with Mary, Jesus’ Mother, as they watched her Son die.
Not much of a record for bravery. Not exactly an example of macho masculinity.
Given that kind of record, what could be expected of these men. . . all of them. . . in the future? So strong, and young. So lean and idealistic…and suddenly their best instincts are in shambles. Instead of heroes, to the last man they appear to be cowards, rendered useless by fear.
How could you ever expect them to become the fearless leaders we now know and respect?
Please consider this: Under pressure, have you ever crumpled or compromised your principles and your faith? Were you too embarrassed to stand strong during a test? Have you been too proud or embarrassed to admit that mistake and correct it? If I understand anything about the Bible, it’s NEVER too late to do that.
God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ><> donkimrey ><>
**This appears to be the same “Mark,” who had jumped ship on the first missionary journey and was the reason for the split between Paul and Barnabas. Mark had become discouraged or disillusioned during his first venture of faith and been written off by The Apostle Paul (How would you feel if Billy Graham had decided you weren’t worth the effort required to give you a ‘second chance?). Was it just a coincidence that the same Barnabas who ‘took a chance’ on the rabid Christian-killer named Saul was also the same man who was convinced young Mark was worth another try? Peter also followed suit and is considered the ‘silent partner’ in the record most feel was written by Mark. And even later Paul had second thoughts and admitted the young man who’d deserted the mission earlier was a worthy follower of Christ.