NORMAN — Scandalize Jesus? It’s right there in the Bible. Jesus predicted that His disciples would “scandalize” Him in the coming hours. Even amidst their strong objections and promises of steadfast loyalty, Jesus remained firm that they would all be guilty.
I suspect that your translation of Mark 14:27 doesn’t use the word “scandalize,” but it is there. The word we translate to “fall away, be caused to stumble or offend” is transliterated from the original language “scandalizo.” Scandalize stings a little more than “fall away” and may help us better understand why the disciples refused to believe they would act this way. Jesus continued by describing how sheep scatter when their shepherd is struck down. Maybe He was trying to comfort His disciples by saying there are times when things happen that catch us by surprise and cause us to act or react in “scandalizing” ways. The truth of life is that we are not always prepared for what may happen and we are often surprised at how we react in unfamiliar or threatening circumstances.
This revealing conversation took place as the disciples walked with Jesus from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane. Earlier, as they shared the Passover, Jesus informed the group that one of them would “betray” Him. All, including Judas, responded, “Surely Not I?” Of course, Judas had already made plans to betray Jesus and left the Passover meal early to carry out his act of treachery. This “betrayal” is a darker word than “scandalize” and reflects a “willful, premeditated, act of giving or delivering over in a treacherous way.” It revealed the condition of Judas’ heart, causing Jesus to declare that “it would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
“Scandalized” and “betrayed!” Definitely a bad night for Jesus and His disciples. Can you relate? You profess your allegiance and loyalty to Jesus as Lord and yet find yourself in circumstances and situations where you “scandalize” Him — at work, at home, at play, in front of the computer. Like Peter, the crowing rooster awakens you and you flee in guilt and shame. What can you do? Where can you go? Graciously, Jesus calls us to Himself. He refuses to “scandalize” us. Did you notice that after warning His disciples of their impending denials, Jesus told them that when He had risen, He would meet them in Galilee?
Later that evening, all of the disciples “scandalized” Jesus. They scattered, hid and bore the pain and guilt of all that took place. Three days later an angel appeared to the women at the empty tomb. His message: “Tell the disciples that Jesus is waiting on them in Galilee.” Can you imagine the joy and burden lifted from the disciples? Jesus was waiting on them in Galilee. Galilee. Let’s go to Galilee.
And Judas? Well, he never made it back to Galilee. And for this reason Jesus called him the “son of perdition.”
What about you? Easter is approaching. In the next couple of weeks we will be journeying to Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the empty tomb. But don’t forget Galilee. Do you need to go to Galilee? Oh, please, don’t forget to go to Galilee. Always remember, no matter how scandalous the scandal, Jesus is waiting for you there.