Apostolic Cowards


Why did everyone desert Jesus when he was arrested (Mark 14:50)?


The crowd that came to arrest Jesus was carrying swords and clubs (Mark 14:43,48), and could have done them serious harm. They posed a very real threat to the disciples' safety.

Still, Peter initially found the courage to mount a defense (Mark 14:47; John 18:10). The other disciples do not seem to have fled right away either. Once Peter and the others realized that Jesus was not going to defend himelf or them, however, they must have seen the futility of taking on the armed opponents. The natural reaction in this case would have been fear -- especially since they had already shown aggression toward the crowd (Mark 14:47), and since they had been told that those who would arrest Jesus would kill him (Mark 14:27-28).

Moreover, Satan had permission to test the disciples' resolve and courage as Christ's followers (Luke 22:31-34; the "you" in Luke 22:31 is plural).

Lastly, according to Jesus, the disciples fled in order to fulfill the Scripture (Mark 14:27). Now, they did not do this apart from means such as their natural fear and Satan's meddling. Nevertheless, Jesus indicated that God would leave them open to such victimization as part of his plan for Christ to suffer ultimate humiliation and pain.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.