I hope these excerpts from my book Easter–Beyond the Bunny help you explore the wonder of the Passion.
Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones (Zechariah 13:7b).
Everybody loves you when you’re winning.
What happened to the crowds? Was it just last Sunday that the people were lining the streets, cheering for Jesus? Now where are they?
When the soldiers came for Jesus, the disciples scattered. John followed, but at a distance. He needed to know what was happening, but he couldn’t bring himself to intervene.
Peter, like John, followed at a distance. He mingled with the crowd, where he could blend in and, hopefully, go unnoticed. While he was standing with a group, a servant girl recognized him. Here was Peter’s chance to stand tall for Christ. Here was his golden opportunity to proclaim his loyalty to Jesus and stand with him—die with him, if need be. After all, that is what he had promised Jesus.
What did he do? You know what he did. He denied his Lord. Big, strong Peter couldn’t stand up to the questions of the lowliest servant girl.
What of the rest? All we know is that they ran for it.
Don’t be too hard on the disciples. I’m convinced they genuinely believed that they were up to the challenge. When Peter said he would never betray Jesus, I think he meant it down to the marrow of his bones. He didn’t have the courage, because he was only human. Like us. We know that John, and Mary, and a few others came to the cross before Jesus died; Jesus even spoke to John from the cross. But in the end, Jesus had to fulfill his purpose himself.
In the end, Jesus went to the cross alone.
He went to the grave alone.
He rose from the dead alone.
Because he had to. That was the point—if anyone else could have done it, if anyone else could have helped, we wouldn’t have needed the perfect Son of God.
Jesus stood alone so that you will never have to.
Because he loves you.
Walk in thankfulness today, Beloved.