After the Last Supper, Jesus could have said, “I know you’re feeling down, but I promise that you will all get away. I want you to be safe. It wouldn’t do any good for you to die, too. You need to be careful. It’s okay to look out for yourself. After I am raised up, I will meet you in Galilee, and we’ll have a big reunion.”
But instead Jesus says, “You will all become deserters” (v. 27).
“Deserters” is harsh. Jesus could have let them off the hook by telling them not to worry about leaving him alone, but he chose to tell the truth and break their hearts.
When we read this part of the story, we are supposed to recognize that we too are deserters. Like the disciples, we are careful and look out for ourselves.
We desert Christ when we eat the bread and drink the cup without letting it break our hearts, when we place our comfort above the needs of others, and when we wish for more things even though we already have more than 95% of God’s people.
We desert Christ when we forget the needs of the world—the creation that needs more care, the nationalism that threatens refugees, and the hunger that kills children.
We desert Christ when we ignore the problems of our nation—racial prejudice, religious bigotry, and increasing income inequality.
We desert Christ when we overlook the heartaches of those around us—broken relationships, frustrated hopes, and shattered dreams.
Sometimes we need to feel bad. We need to admit how we fall short.
If we skip straight from Palm Sunday to Easter without any honesty in between, we will miss the big reunion.
How could confessing our sins lead us to a better life?
God, we admit that we’d rather not think about the ways we fall short. Help us to see that acknowledging our wrongdoing is a step toward your grace. Amen.