The following reading is part of a larger Easter reading plan. If you would like to download the full, free Easter reading plan, you can do so here.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who stands next to me,”
declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;
I will turn my hand against the little ones.
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
Some of the deepest pains in my life are friendships that have dissolved in hurt or betrayal. The pain of a friend that has forgotten you in your pain or neglected you when you needed them to stand with you in faith lingers longer than we might expect. Those memories stay with us during sleepless nights, and the ghosts of those friendships often prompt us to reach for the radio dial when we’re driving alone in the car. Friendships have great capacity to hurt us because of their proximity to our truest selves. Because close friends know us intimately, their neglect stings all the more.
Our Savior was forsaken by His friends. And not just by any one friend or single acquaintance, but by the twelve closest friends He knew, those with whom He spent the last several years. During all waking hours the disciples were by His side; when He laid down to sleep at night, they were likely only an arms length away. In Jesus’ moment of persecution – as the soldiers surround Him with swords and clubs – His friends forsake Him. Just as He said they would.
Consider the friendships in your life that have disappointed or forsaken you. Thank God that He endured being forsaken and denied by His friends – praise Him, even as you pray for relational healing in your own life.