Sheep Without A Shepherd

What do you do when someone close to you dies, seemingly without warning? Of course, you’re shocked … bewildered … grief-stricken … frightened. People who had traveled with Jesus experienced all these emotions, but I expect they may have also been guilt-ridden. Especially Peter. holyweekAs soon as Peter denied knowing Christ, the impact of his denial caused an immediate reaction. He ran from the area and “… wept bitterly.” Scant clues tell us where he went that night. Remember the earlier night when he struggled to stay awake while Jesus was praying? I doubt he slept on this night; he probably huddled somewhere running all the events over in his mind, again and again. How could I have been so foolish? How could I have been so foolish?!

We also know Judas, the betrayer, was filled with regret, admitting “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”  The same scripture passage says Judas tossed away the reward for his betrayal and went out and hanged himself.

After that, the scriptures shift their narrative focus onto the quickly-unfolding events involving Jesus. With appearances before government officials and religious leaders, his responses to their questions, the condemnation of Jesus by the crowd and subsequent release of Barabbas, then we see Jesus carrying the cross to the place of execution, culminating with Jesus being nailed to the cross.

For the remaining disciples, wherever they found shelter, there were surely troubling questions in each of their minds. What did we do wrong? How did we misunderstand? What are we going to do now?

People deal with Death in different ways. I think Peter may have hid himself; he was understandably ashamed. Mary, Martha and the risen Lazarus were likely together, whether in lodging in Jerusalem or at their home in Bethany (not far away). The other disciples probably scattered … like frightened sheep. Remember, Jesus warned them they’d be like sheep without a shepherd.

What would they do without Jesus? It was inconceivable that he was gone! What would they do?!

They couldn’t answer that question … but Sunday was coming.

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