This continues a Lenten series on forgiveness, focusing on all-too-human sins that Jesus encountered and forgave.
We have looked at Jesus' understanding of Peter, James, and John's weakness in the garden. We have considered Jesus' compassion for Peter's denial. For the rest of them? When faced with a squad of soldiers, to put it plainly: most of the disciples ran. Jesus was facing an arrest on capital charges -- with a speedily-held trial in a politicized court where innocence didn't matter, and sentenced to death in a manner that was designed to terrify people into compliance. It largely worked. The disciples were afraid. When they saw the price tag of sticking with Jesus on that night, most of them ran away.
Jesus had known they would. He told them in advance, at dinner that night, that all of them would leave him. And still they went to the garden with him. He still wanted their company, and they wanted his. The Gospel of John regards the disciples leaving as the fulfillment of the prophecy that Jesus had lost none of those the Father gave him (John 18:9) -- that their lives truly would have been in danger if they had stayed. Had he told them in advance so that, from the safety of their hiding place, they would know that he had understood?
There have been times in my life when I have been in need. So far those times have been few and far between, though they have stood out in my own mind. A few years back I took a blog break for health reasons, when for a few months I was nearly a medical shut-in until a health issue was resolved. The memory of people turning away can lead me to some uncharitable thoughts toward people that I had hoped would be there for me, and who decided that they just couldn't or wouldn't be there for me, not right then, not in that particular hour of need. No way to get groceries? There are delivery services. No way to get the yard cut? It's possible to get that hired. It's not necessarily other peoples' problem that I was in need. Those who take care of their own concerns may have valid concerns. Have I never turned down a request when my own life was tricky, or someone asked more than they seem to realize? Those who did stand by me in times of need are especially close to my heart. Those who did stand by me -- that's a gift, not an obligation.
Lord, may I forgive the sins -- whether real or perceived -- from those who did not stand by me in my troubles. May I let go of grudges or bitter thoughts, and have the courage to face troubles graciously.