Summary: Sometimes you have to make the choice to follow God when others around you are failing.
Prince Caspian: Following, even if no one else will go
(Show Prince Caspian Clip, Lucy sees Aslan, or Lucy meets Aslan)
The KJV says, "be offended" instead of "fall away". The translation is trying to capture the spiritual implications of what it means to be ensnared by Satan. Jesus is about to be attacked physically and spiritually and the apostles will be caught in the trap.
Mark talks about it generally. He is focused on the truth that, not just Peter, but all Jesus’ followers will, in some way, be ensnared because of their connection to Him.
This was naturally a great source of discomfort for Peter and the others. They all aware denied that they would fall away because loyalty is so highly prized. Barclay says, "It is when a man is up against it that a man needs his friends the most, and that was exactly when Jesus’ friends left Him all alone and let Him down" (Barclay, Mark, 358).
The Apostles are an odd group. Today we question their intelligence because they seemed so dim when it came to their understanding of the things Jesus told them. Tomorrow we measure our own spiritual height beneath theirs, acknowledging that Jesus taught them personally and they are the first building stones of the Church.
In light of the truth that they are actually quite great men, we uncomfortably must ask, "If they fell away, and they walked with Jesus and knew him face-to-face, when will I fall away?"
Perhaps you already have.
• Perhaps you found yourself in a moral quandary and gave into what was easiest at the time
• Perhaps you found yourself in a group of unbelievers and, in your insecurity, walked with them instead of staying with Jesus
• Perhaps you found yourself in an emotionally dark place and wandered in the dark, without the personal strength to find your way back
That is the trap. Jesus does not offer us immediate security. He offers us ultimate safety. It takes an intentional effort to look beyond the bridge swaying beneath our feet to the anchors, cables and knots holding it in place at the ends. Our footing may shift, but our ground is solid.
You might remember that later, when Lucy was showing the others where she had seen Aslan, she stood right on a pit covered over by brush that gave way under her weight, as if she were being caught.
Only it was not a pit, it was a path. When she fell, it was into the best place she could find herself. If she had the courage to do this the first time around, they would have avoided a long diversion and delay. When she reached the bottom of the trap, it was a beautiful, safe passage that led them right where they needed to be.
We may not see it clearly, but we are ultimately safe. Following Jesus may not always seem like the wisest thing to do, but the trap is the best place to be.
Think of yourself as a precious, endangered species. There are few of you left, but you are ill, and the conservation community is bending enormous effort and resources to save you. In order to do that, they must give you medical treatment, a single pill, and to do that they need to catch you.
They design a box that shows you what you most want to find, but the moment you reach for it, the box falls down and you are captured.
You may be frantic, frightened, and caught off guard by the unexpected. But in reality, when you have received your pill, your survival expectations will double, maybe triple. You will be able to find your herd and continue your life, but with more vitality. You and others like you are safer and healthier because you were caught.
• You are precious: Jesus died to pay the price for you
• You are endangered: Satan walks about like a roaring lion hunting you to devour you
• You are ill: the sickness of sin eats away at your spirit like a cancer
Go into the trap with your eyes open. Jesus has told you that your faith is a trap and He is the bait. Following is not humanly safe. If you ignore this basic truth, you will fall away. Your dismay at being captured will frighten you and cause you to panic. The one thing that can give you the courage to stand when others tremble is the knowledge that you are walking into a trap and that the inside of the trap is the best place to be.
Lewis, the author of Prince Caspian understood this dynamic. He did not rejoice to find Jesus. He had been running from Him for his entire life. After a long search into what Christianity was and whether it could be trusted as truth, he said of himself: