This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. Are you ready? Are we ever? Do you think the disciples were ready when the events of that week unfolded? How could they have understood what was about to happen? Jesus had warned them on multiple occasions that his road would have a tragic end. “You’ll have the light just a little longer” Jesus cautioned, “[So] put your trust in the light while you have it, so you may become children of light” (John 12:35, 36) I’m convinced, thought, that they had no way of comprehending all that Jesus meant with such predictions.
For one thing, their eyes, much like our own, remained on themselves far more than they focused upon the Christ. The closer they moved towards Golgotha, the more intent they became upon self-preservation. When Jesus announced that one of them would betray him, far from being concerned that their leader might be handed over to those who wished to kill him, the disciples each worried about their own guilt - “Is it me?” When Jesus asked them to pray in the garden, they couldn’t overcome their own sense of fatigue long enough to care for the one who’d cared for them so well over the last three years. When the arrest finally came, these men who’d promised to go to Jerusalem and die by his side (John 11:16; 13:37) scattered into the night.
They weren’t ready for the cross. They weren’t ready for its unyielding brutality or its apparent finality. They weren’t ready to give in and give up in that way. They hadn’t yet grasped Jesus teaching that a seed must first fall to the ground and die before it can ever grow into a plant and produce much fruit. They couldn’t yet understand how the last could really end up the first; how losing one’s life could result in finding life everlasting. They weren’t ready. I wonder, “Are we?”
Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be – John 12:25-26.