What a fantastic dinner. From the disciple’s perspective, they would enjoy the Passover meal with Jesus and spend some much-needed and vastly overdue time alone with their teacher, messiah, and Lord. Some of which they did not understand fully. The sights and smells in the upper room that day were familiar to these men. The bread they would soon be eating and the cups of wine they would shortly be drinking were well-known objects of this feast. But to their surprise, Jesus establishes the truth of the New Covenant while eating a very familiar Passover celebration!
I am not sure what their faces may have looked like as Jesus said those words, “take it, this is my body” and “this is my blood of the covenant,” as they partook of those elements, but I can imagine a slight bit of pause and some weird looks to one another!
At the end of the meal, they sing one of several hymns that were sung during the celebration. They then leave the upper room and walk to the Mount of Olives. This mountain stood between Bethany and Jerusalem. This is where our current study begins.
27 “And Jesus *said to them, “You will all [a]fall away, because it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
FOCUS ONE: Jesus said to them
Jesus and the eleven disciples had just left the upper room where they had celebrated the Passover. Judas parted their company to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14).
Take notice of how different the tone of the conversation is now that they have left the upper room, and Jesus is much closer to the garden of Gethsemane, where He will be betrayed by Judas Iscariot and handed over to evil men. In those words, “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered” (v. 27); Jesus predicts their fear and falling away when He is handed over (v. 27).
Jesus quoted from the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 13:7):
“Awake, sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the Man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of armies.
“Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered;
And I will turn My hand [a]against the little ones.”
Zechariah is speaking of a future event. Preface to this section, the prophet was focused on the false prophets that were “*wounded in friends houses,” but now is speaking of the “true prophet wounded in the house of His friends, Israel.” MacArthur writes: “He compressed events of both the first (13:7) and second (13:8,9) Advents into this brief section. It spoke of Christ’s crucifixion (v.7) and the Jewish remnant at His second coming (vv. 8,9).” That is why Jesus refers to it with the disciples.
These men will not only witness fulfilled prophecy but are the “scattered sheep” of the prophecy!
It is never wise to leave a person with only bad news. People need hope; they need encouragement to carry on. That is what Jesus gave them when He told them that He would rise again and go ahead to Galilee (v. 28)!
Take notice of the tense used when He speaks of being raised again. Not hopefully, or possibly, but after I have been raised! Christ speaks of His resurrection as an absolute fact! This is attested to elsewhere in the Bible. (Matthew 28:16; 17; Genesis 3:15, for example). We do not simply witness fulfilled prophecy in these verses, but in it being fulfilled, we glory at the Omniscience, omnipotence, and sovereignty of our God over all things!
29 “But Peter said to Him, “Even if they all [a]fall away, yet I will not!” 30 And Jesus *said to him, “Truly I say to you, that [b]this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.” 31 But [c]Peter repeatedly said insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing as well.”
FOCUS TWO: Peter says to Him
Can you remember a time, maybe recently, when you affirmed your behavior or attitude would be a certain way regardless of the outcome of some future event, conversation, or meeting? Did it pan out that way when the time came?
This is the case with Peter. Directly after the Lord tells them that all of them will flee, He makes a bold statement signifying the opposite. “Everyone else might, but not me.” Peter’s sincere but prideful statement is based on his false evaluation of himself. He views himself as more spiritually mature than he is, more steadfast in his devotion to Christ than the others. One other way we can define this moment would be “presumption.” Peter is overconfident in his future behavior even though his past behavior doesn’t back him up!
So, Peter Denied the Lord’s claim (does he know himself better than the Lord does)? If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we are just like Peter. We struggle with the same problem. Presuming things regarding ourselves, others, or the Lord, usually doesn’t end well. Scripture proves this time and time again (Deuteronomy 17:12; Daniel 5:20), and we are counseled against it (Romans 9:20; 15:18).
The Lord answers Peter’s denial by giving more detailed information about what will happen in the not-so-distant future.
- That very night
- Before a rooster crows twice
- You will deny me three times
Again we witness Peters’s audacity in insisting He knew better than the Lord! “I will die for you!” At this point in the discussion, all the disciples were saying the same thing (v. 31). How little did they realize that their faith in Him would collapse as soon as they realized that He would not resist arrest or perform some supernatural act to save Himself (v. 50). How true the word’s of the Lord was, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (v. 38). Praise the Lord that He is always faithful even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13)!
How often do we presume something will happen one way or another?
Why do such presumptions betray our confidence and trust in the Lord?
The statement “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” summarizes the battle we face within (flesh vs. spirit). How is this evident in your own life daily?