April 15 PDF Print E-mail
"Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled." — Matthew 26:56.

Let us look at this lamentable fact, in connexion with the disciples, the Saviour, and ourselves.

With regard to the disciples, it shows us their weakness and depravity. They fled, from fear, but their fear was needless. He had stipulated for their safety, when he surrendered himself in the Garden: "If, therefore, ye seek me, let these go their way that the saying might be fulfilled. Of them which Thou hast given me, I have lost none." They were under great obligations to him. He had done much for them in calling them by his grace, and dignifying them with the Apostleship. And he was now going to bleed and die for them. And they had professed a great attachment to him: for when Peter said, Though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee, so said all the disciples. Yet they all forsook him, and fled! Lord, what is man!

Yet this culpable cowardice was overruled for good. For their very declension made their witness, after his resurrection, the more unexceptionably credible, and the weakness of their faith has proved the strengthening of ours. They were not persons of hasty belief. They had doubted, and for the time abandoned the cause, saying, "We trusted it had been He which should have redeemed Israel," and were repairing to their former homes and callings. What could have rallied them, and brought them back, and inspired them with courage to go forth, and bear reproach, and persecution, and death, in his Name, but a conviction that nothing could resist?

With regard to the Saviour, this was a part, and a very trying part of his abasement and passion. A friend is born for adversity. Then his presence, his sympathy, his countenance, is peculiarly desirable and necessary. Common humanity says, To him that is afflicted, pity should be showed of his friend. But he looked for some to take pity, and there was none, and for comforters, and he found none. These men had been three years with him; they could have borne witness to his freedom from sedition; his innocency; his piety. They could have cheered him by their standing at his side, and their determination to suffer with him. But one betrayed him; another denied him; and all forsook him, and fled. Behold, and see, if ever there was sorrow like unto his sorrow! Yet he foresaw, and foretold this: "The hour Cometh, and is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone." This enhanced his anguish. He suffered in the apprehension, as well as in the reality. But it also enhanced his love. He was not drawn into any part of his suffering by ignorance, or surprise; he knew all, all was before him, but he turned not his back.

With regard to ourselves, it may teach us not to sink, or wonder, if we should be deserted by those from whom we had reason to look for better things. Did not one tell David, "Behold, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom!" And did not he groan, "It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company?" Did not Job complain, "My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: what time they wax warm, they vanish; when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place?" Did not Paul say, "At my first answer, no man stood by me, but all men forsook me; I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge!" Above all, "lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds," consider the Lord Jesus. "Is the servant above the master, or the disciple above his Lord?"

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

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