How alone and abandoned Jesus must have felt. Just a few hours earlier he had shared dinner with his closest followers and disciples. He had told them that he no longer called them servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made know to you.” He had prepared them to be his successors in the family business.
Yet, when a mob with clubs, swords and torches in the dark of night struck terror in their hearts, Mark reports, “Everyone deserted him and fled.” (Mark 14:50) Fear had seized them. They may have thought that their spirit was willing as evidenced by Peter’s proclamation that he would go to prison or death for Jesus, but the flesh yielded to the terror of the night.
Fear was everywhere that evening. The mob was gripped with fear, for they armed themselves with swords and clubs. Jesus, too, experienced fear as he sweated blood and asked the Father to take “this cup.” The disciples ran out of fear.
When my son, Stephen, turned 12, the two of us went on an overnight camping trip into the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. After we had retired to bed down for the evening, we heard something moving outside our tent. In the dark of night we were gripped with fear. After fumbling around one of our back packs I found a flashlight, and cautiously peaked outside the tent to discover a deer tasting the nearby fauna. How much more terror I would have felt if I had seen a mob approaching with torches, clubs and swords! We should not be too harsh in our judgment of the disciples.
Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons which he uses to steer us away from God and his will. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of what people think, fear of rejection, fear of the boss, fear of the next medical test – all become obstacles for us to live the life to which God has called us. John says perfect love casts out all fear. (1John 4:18)
When motivated to act out of fear, stop! Remember the love God has for you as evidenced by his willingness to become one of us and die for us. Remember your love of God and ask what he wants you to do.