John 16.31-33 cont.
31 Jesus answered them: “Do you now believe?”
32 Look, the hour comes and has already come when each of you will be scattered each to his own place and only I will be left, but I am not alone, because My Father is with Me.
33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but be courageous, I have overcome the world.
These words of Jesus might have come as a shock to His disciples, since He informed them that they were all going to desert Him. When the going got tough the disciples were to show their weakness by deserting Jesus.
Each one of them was to decide whether or not to withdraw from supporting Jesus. Perhaps it was a decision that first one, then another would make, and then another, until they all left Him.
This was all to happen within that night, perhaps a couple of hours away.
We often think of Peter denying Jesus, but the reality is that they all did so by running away from Him. The only exception appears to be John, who was with Jesus at the cross.
These words of Jesus we find also in Matthews gospel chapter 26.31, where Jesus quotes from Zechariah 13.7:
“Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the Man who is close to Me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones” – (NIV).
We must take notice of the attitude of Jesus. He did not criticise His disciples for what they were about to do. He did not enter into self-pity that at the end of His earthly ministry He would be completely deserted. He did not utter any words of disappointment, because of their impeding desertion.
As we have seen, Jesus knows all things, and He knew that, although they were to be scattered, He would meet with them again immediately after His resurrection.
He knew that their desertion was temporary, and that these would still be the men through whom He would build His church.
Their being scattered did not put on hold the birth of His Church. Like the Good Shepherd that He is, Jesus was to gather them together and make them the pillars of His Church.
There are bound to be times when we also may appear to run away from what Jesus calls us to. As our Good Shepherd He will bring us back and re-establish us in His good and perfect will for us.
In this He lives out the parable of the shepherd and the lost sheep.