“And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and they prepared the Passover.” (Matthew 26:19)
They often got it wrong.
Jesus’ band of followers usually ended up making poor choices, succumbing to sleepiness when he desperately needed companionship, running away like frightened mice when he could have used a little lion-‐-‐-‐hearted friendship.
His time had come, and it seemed everyone was eagerly plotting his demise.
The chief priests, the elders of the people, and the high priest were all concocting devious plans to arrest and kill Jesus.51 Greedy Judas rubbed his grubby paws together and probed, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” (Matthew 26:15).
In their midst, Jesus’ closest friends wisely obeyed his simple instructions for preparing the Passover. At least this time they got it right.
He loved them regardless. He was on their side when they followed his directions and ensured their last meal together was a success, and he loved them unconditionally when they tucked their garments between their knees and deserted him, abandoning him to face the enemy alone.
Wanting to prepare them for the tumultuous events that lay ahead, he warned, “You will all fall away because of me this night” (Matthew 26:31). In a rousing chorus, they vowed to die rather than betray him. Yet, he knew their hearts, knew they were weak, and understood implicitly that they would not withstand the pressure.
Because his love was rooted in forgiveness, he reminded them that after it all went awry he would meet back up with them in Galilee. He did not scold or rebuke them for their frailty. Jesus understood that their fears would paralyze them, ensnaring the Galilean fishermen, transforming their muscles to mush. The Shepherd’s sacrificial devotion would triumph even while the sheep scattered from the blow.
On occasion, disciples will get it all wrong. Sometimes we follow the Master perfectly. Always, he loves us graciously, showers us with mercy, forgives our deficiencies, and calls us to continue the journey faithfully, our feet following the path he chose all those years ago.