It would be interesting to look at the remaining gospels in the same light as Simeons prophecy, the revealing of many a heart. To watch how the heart minimizes and compartmentalizes and justifies and schemes.
Joseph may not have lived to see the Jesus we've come to know. He is not spoken of after this event in Jesus' 12th year. Thus the Simeon prophecy of Mary's heart later being pierced at the crucifiction takes on an interesting light of completion.
Great and terrible things shall come. He could have said be strong or be prayerful etc... but He says to be patient. It is not that these other things are not each important, it is that they all come as a result of patience. Therefore posses your soul in patients.
This prophecy was fulfilled near AD 70 at the destruction of the temple by the Romans. It is said by critics that Jesus cannot be classified as a prophet because none of His prophecies have come true. Well what is this prophecy, chopped liver?
Many believe that since the temple destruction AD70 and resultant worldwide dispersion of the Jews that we have now lived in an "time of the gentiles" era. With drawing of the Jews back to Jerusalem since 1948 we now see a signal of the closing of the age and the drawing near of our redemption; The Lord's second coming. There are others that say that this all happened AD70 and that the Lord has already returned. Some believe that none of this happens until the end of the world. I believe that kjv@Luke:21:24 is the key verse suggesting the dispersion/age interpretation, "be led away captive" I have yet to find evidence of in other end time prophecy.
Three ways I can think of for this to have been fulfilled even though we are now 1990+ years down the time line. 1. "Generation" can just as easily be translated "period" thus within this age/period of time this will be fulfilled. 2. The specific of the prophecy can be interrupted as having been fulfilled in AD70 and the actual Lord's latter return fulfillment of a greater prophecy in whole. 3. There are also the considerations of God's eternal perceptions of time (thousand years as a day) (time relativity) (the possibility that time is not sequentially serial but rather sequentially parallel). How deep do you want to go with it?
If Satan truly had free reign and will, he could have attempted this attack long ago, perhaps before the possibility of Jesus having world wide ministry and impact. We know that there have been other chances. We know that the religious have been planning as well. We also know that the prophecies and Jesus have spelled the coming events out well so that Satan would know how not to go about this. And yet he does. God plays him like a fiddle.
Not sure if this discourse amongst the Disciples is given full justice by the text. I imagine this to have occurred much more organically over the course of the evening than presented. If our own dinner conversations where condensed down to two sentences, we'd look pretty foolish as well. What we are told is simply what we most need to know. Surely there was much discussed that night, all with sincere and honest and devoted intentions; just as much as that not discussed and reserved in fear and uncertainty. In other words, they were being human. It must have been a painfully haunting and surreal meal for Judas.
If not for it's profound sense of personal moral conviction, this passage of scripture would be viewed universally with no doubt as the greatest written literary work of all time. I can think of no other author's development of story and character and description, no other pull on the heart strings of the observant audience greater than this. Even Shakespeare (who is said to have had a small hand in the early translation of the King James Version) would have been humbled by this master piece for the accomplishment of prose and stark contrasts of light and dark put forth here. To have this profound and rich of a thematic idea is a writers never fulfilled dream, to be able to fulfill it's potential with it's deserved lyrical craft a writer's eternal curse. And yet it is written so simply. If not for the set up of this particular passage, the following climatic passion and crucification have not the same effect. Why this passage is not intellectually considered as such (even if as merely fiction) speaks volumes of the truer heart of man.
We find that Jesus prayed most all of the time. We are not privy to the contents of those prayers. Here we are privy and we must wonder both why and by whom? The disciples are in the distance sleeping. The Holy Spirit is telling us something very important here. This prayer is for our benefit as much as His. The cup cannot be taken away. This IS God's will.
"sleeping for sorrow". They knew something was about to happen. Mentally no doubt they had tried to work all the possibilities toward their favor. Jesus seemed to be taking this course regardless. This was there way of dealing with the sorrow and resultant mental fatigue.
I think that it is too easy for us here to judge Peter. He is not reborn yet. He is still trying to approach his relationship to the Savior Christ in intellectual rather than spiritual terms much like us. The fact is that none of us truly know how we would have reacted ourselves faced with this hostile and surreal situation. Rationally, if denial meant being able to continue observing the nights events without having been set out and/or beaten it may have been well worth it in a more practical way. None of the other twelve after all were risking the effort to witness the events unfolding; only the two Marys and doubting half brother James were also watching on.
The mob mentality begins. Perhaps you have witnessed or been part of this overwhelming dynamic yourselves. It is the most unexplainable force of humankind; what mobs of people will allow themselves to do when swept over by this force. Ration and reasoning, temperance and justice disappear. Captors assume license that in no other way would be granted. The strange, the ma-cab, the grotesque, the venomous comes out of men. The sin nature within us all becomes paramount like at no other time.
Can't help but think of the parable Jesus gave on the distant vineyard owner that sent envoys to gather it's produce only to be rejected by the hired hands. Jesus hints that there were those who knew who the Son was and yet killed Him to steal away His inheritance kjv@Mark:12:1-12. Who in this crowd would He be talking about?
We should not jump to conclusions concerning the Disciples. The tendency might be to think that they were afraid or ashamed or confused in hiding. The fact that they were unanimously absent might suggest that they were told to or couched to stay away perhaps due to safety, perhaps due to the type of unbiased testimony the Spirit wanted to collect. We just can't be sure.
No one man surely could not have witnessed all of these details recorded throughout these key passages of the Passion and Crucifixion. What we are reading more likely is a collection of testimonies from several sources gathered together by Doctor Luke in this case. What the acquaintances and women saw from afar was from their lips, what the Centurion said most likely from his or someone close enough to him, what the thieves said from the same in close witness. The two Mary's and half brother James may have been close enough sources for most of this, but, not all of this. It would behoove Luke to utilize many sources. And there could have been many more than we are aware of.
Here we are not only hearing the direct testimony of the women and of Peter, we are hearing how 2nd level witnesses are recalling and interrupting the news that they are receiving; it's seems like the news is being transmitted faithfully. In the case of the two men walking, their 2nd level testimony then becomes a direct witness as Jesus reveals the scriptures and eats with them .
It is an interesting study laying the four gospels accounts of these events side by side and developing an actual time line. Often people will dismiss the gospels because the accounts are not word for word, story by story; they are attempting to read the gospels as a novel from one author. But when you do take the time as an investigating officer would to map these separate and individual testimonies out there is an undeniable consistency, each one adding to the next, that is nothing other than divinely gathered. One must look at these pieces as how they might truly represent the events and fit together first before looking at them as how they might not.