In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve been looking at how Christ was humbled in order to bring us salvation. We’ve seen that Christ was humiliated throughout his life on earth and last week we started to see that Jesus was also humiliated in his death by the betrayal of Judas. This week I want to show Christ’s humiliation by the desertion of his disciples.
If we stand up for what is right, it is good to have others rally around us. If no one supports us it can be a humiliating experience to stand alone. Particularly if we have many supporters and friends when times are good, yet as soon as trouble comes along they are nowhere to be found.
Jesus had many friends while on earth, but no friends greater than his disciples. They lived with him, travelled with him, experiencing his love and greatness first hand.
Yet when Jesus was arrested, all of his disciples ran away. Mark records:
‘The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted him and fled.
A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind’ (Mark 1:46-52).
Admittedly Peter did try to stand with Jesus by drawing his sword, but once he realised this was not what Jesus wanted, Peter fled along with the rest:
‘Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (Joh 18:10-11)’
How humiliating for Jesus to be alone when arrested. Particularly when only a few hours earlier the disciples had said they would not do such a thing: ‘But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same’ (Mark 14:31).
So why would Jesus humble himself in this way? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you, even by the desertion of his disciples.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?