“And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away, for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee’” (Mark 14:27-28).
Jesus makes this comment to his apostles just after the singing of the last hymn, as the group ventures out in the dark to the Mount of Olives. It is when I put myself in Jesus’ sandals and imagine an analogous situation in my life that I see the enormity of His heart in this moment.
For Jesus is telling His disciples, His closest friends on earth, that they are going to abandon Him shortly. The men He has just broken bread with, the men He ate and slept and laughed and cried with for three years, will cut and run in His hour of greatest need for friends. And immediately after telling them this, as if forgiveness is already a done deal in His heart, He says they will all meet up again later, after all this is over, in Galilee.
Jesus did not know some things as a man, inasmuch as He had emptied himself of mannish prerogatives: He didn’t know the day or hour of the end of the world (Matthew 24:36). The faith of some people He met reportedly astonished or “marveled” Him (Matthew 8:5-13).
But Jesus definitely knew in the Spirit that His apostles would abandon him, and I presume He knew it all through their Last Supper, and He certainly knew it after supper as He said the words above. And yet He is already speaking of a future rendezvous, as if it’s all good. The sin is not even committed yet, and Jesus is already planning to forgive, and has already forgiven, and is already moving forward beyond the little sticky patch.
I was thinking about people who get married. As deeply in love as an engaged couple is, they must know, if they are realists, that they will sometimes sin against each other in the next 50 years. To know that ahead of time, and to already determine in one’s heart that when this happens, one will forgive and one will move on and there will be life and love after stumbles is to be like Jesus was on this occasion, on the night of His arrest.