The Greek caption says, “They all abandoned him and fled.” “They” were Jesus’ disciples running away from the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus was being arrested. In fact, they didn’t stop running until they reached the relative safety of their home in Galilee.
We may want to condemn the disciples for their cowardice, but we should praise them for their truthfulness. After all, it was the disciples who told the story to others. Jesus had taught them not to hide their personal failures, not to portray themselves in the best possible light.
Of course, succeeding generations of Christians wrote the disciples’ betrayal out of the story. It was said that Jesus had told the disciples to go to Galilee or that they actually stayed in Jerusalem after his crucifixion. But the truth is—they ran away.
Early Quakers often spoke about Truth with a capital “T.” We, their latter-day descendants, should also capitalize truth in our lives. Whether we are giving a message in meeting or musing during worship sharing, we should share (when appropriate) the truth of our personal lives, both the good and the bad. By risking vulnerability and displaying transparency, we invite our fellow Quakers to seek the Truth in their own lives.
Nothing is gained by presenting a sanitized version of who we are. It’s spiritually deadening to disguise our inner selves, and it’s unhelpful to others. As John says in his Gospel, “…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (KJV)
~ Richard Russell
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