Matthew 26:52-58 NRSV
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.
In Matthew 26:14 – 27:66 everything is going wrong: Judas betrays, Peter denies, the disciples scatter, the crowds demand his crucifixion, and Jesus is laid in a tomb. Even Jesus is fearful, begging God to take this cup from him. But unlike everyone else in this passage, Jesus trusts in God’s plan. Jesus trusts and obeys.
Judas, Peter, and the disciples do not trust in Him. Judas, perhaps angry that Jesus did not fulfill his expectations of a warrior Messiah, betrays Jesus to the High Priests. Peter, fearful of capture and seeing only the immediate danger, denied knowing Jesus three times.
I am in no way condemning these men. Even knowing this story’s outcome, I know that I would act the exact same way. I know this because I do so in my life. I, like Judas, think that I know better than God and go my own way, often inflicting pain with the choices I make. Or I, like Peter, am fearful of the world and its powers and take the perceived safest route while compromising my relationship with Jesus. I am guilty of listening to the loudest voices instead of the still small voice. I often doubt that God has a plan for me.
Within this reading there is a recurring note that has echoes in our own lives: God is in control and each of us has a role in His plan. Our betrayal, our fear, and our doubts cannot derail His intentions. We need only trust in Him and He will provide.
Prayer (based on lyrics of the song, “I Will Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle)
Dear Lord, you are my strength and comfort, my steady hand, and firm foundation. I will trust you.
Your ways are always higher, your plans are always good, and you are always with me. I will trust you.
So, when you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move or part the waters I wish I could walk through or give the answers as I cry out to you – I will trust you.