Summary: In the arrest or Jesus we see the worst and the best man can muster - and how its not enough without the strength of our Lord.
Bravado: "a pretense of courage." It comes from an Old Spanish word "to swagger."
Webster’s defines bravery as: "quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear."
Betrayal: "To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance"
Today we are going to see these three qualities in the arrest and trial of Jesus.
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Have you ever wondered what they sang? It’s quite possible that it was a Psalm - Psalm 116 in fact - which was traditionally sung after the Passover meal. Let’s turn there because it is significant for the events to take place.
Now we know from John that there was a lengthy discourse that Jesus gave here, but Peter only tells us the part focused on the disciples:
27 "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written:
"’I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Zechariah 13:7
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
God commanded that the Shepherd be struck - and what would follow would be a tremendous time of testing. In fact, Luke tell us:
Luke 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
The scattering was necessary - partly to show that man cannot be loyal to God apart from the gift of the Son - His life, and then His Spirit imparted to man. Devotion to God, even zealous devotion like we see in man-made religions in this world - cannot get you anything because we cannot on our own draw close to God - God must draw close to us and make the way.
Jesus tells them plainly what will happen, but gives them hope that He will not abandon them, but has a plan for restoration.
So Peter, bless his heart, instead of listening to Jesus, speaks his mind:
29 Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."
30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today-yes, tonight-before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the others said the same.
Notice that Peter wasn’t the only one to make this rash promise. Sometimes we are too hard on Peter because he was so honest about his own failings - but at least Peter tried to get close the Lord (we’ll see that later) whereas most of the others simply ran and hid.
This is bravado, plain and simple - "the pretense of courage." It reminds me of the story of Ben-Hadad, King of Aram, and Ahab, king of Israel in 1Kings 20.
Ben-Hadad had just gotten through telling Ahab that he was going to slaughter Israel, and Ahab says:
1 Kings 20:11 The king of Israel answered, "Tell him: ’One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’"
So they go out from Jerusalem, but don’t return to Bethany like before - Jesus stops on the southwestern slopes of the Mount of Olives in a place called Gethsemane - which means "olive press."
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
Jesus knew He was going to die - and He knew that the Father would raise Him - but it was the horror of facing separation from the Father and taking upon Himself the sins of the world that lay so heavily on His shoulders. Jesus was indeed human, but He faced this hour with courage and bravery.
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Take a look at this statement - someone could argue that Jesus suffered from a lack of faith because He directly asked the Father to not make Him go the cross. It is okay for us to pray honestly to the Father - as long as we, like Jesus, follow it with: "Thy will be done."
God didn’t take away the cup - but He did take away the fear and agitation.