13 March 2007

The faithless, and the Faithful

by Dan Phillips

A brief (and very bumpable) thought from my recent reading of Mark:
"And they all left him and fled"
(Mark 14:50)
The Greek word-order is different. Let me give it three ways:

και αφεντες αυτον εφυγον παντες
kai aphentes auton ephugon pantes
"And, leaving Him, they fled -- all."

I see some suspense and emphasis in that wording, that syntax. "And they left him and fled" would have been bad, but it would have been ambiguous. That any would leave Him is shameful, cowardly, painful to read. But perhaps not all left Him; perhaps some stood by Jesus, as He had stood by them.

Who left Him, exactly?

"All," Mark tells us, unsparingly.

But back to the "left" and "fled." Both are in the plural number (they left, they fled). Does that matter?

Infinitely.

Thank God, thank God, the verb is plural. Thank God it is not singular. What a shame that we, represented in the apostles, abandoned Jesus! What a glory that He did not leave us. The Target remained, the periphera fled.

That they left and fled is appalling and shameful.

Had He left and fled, it would have been damning and dooming. None would have stood under God's wrath as our substitute. None would have made atonement. None would have made propitiation. None would have paid the price for our redemption.

Faithful Jesus; faithless men.

When I first typed that last line, I mis-typed men as "me."

But that works, too.

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6 comments:

LeeC said...

Amen.

They saw Him, they knew Him, they saw His miracles and even were benificiaries of them. And when the world threatnend them, they fled. Just like when Israel followed His Shikanah presence through the desert and in 40 days were making idols.

He is so faithful, in spite of me, and all my faithless endeavors.

He had someone adopt me, then He adopted me, gave me a wife far beyond my hopes, two children and a job I would have never even known existed and that has supported me for 15 years yesterday. And all the while the time has benn punctuated by moments of my faithlessness, and His restoration. I'm not getting maudlin here, just in awe.

I'll try and refrain from discusing dispensationalism and how it relates, buts its hard not to.

Prov 24
"16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,"

Such amazing grace. Such unconditional love.

Todd Buck said...

This is the reason I read your blog everyday.

You guys remind us of what is of infinite importance: not the Dow average (or its slippage); not whether Gonzalez stays or goes; not whether Anna Nicole's death was self-drug induced, accidentally drug-induced, or homicidally drug induced.

What matters is that I fled.

And, as you perfectly put it, He purposed not to do so.

janelle said...

Thank you. Yet again you point us to the Gospel.

T.J.L. said...

What a gracious God. What an immeasurable gift. That Jesus stood there ready to bear the sins of the world is unfathomable; not the pain of the beating or the agony of the cross, but the bearing of the worlds sin. No works could repay such a price which is why I believe in faith alone by grace alone. God help me to stand strong for Him in my weakness and to proclaim His name boldly.

takin said...

me too!

Turretinfan said...

From a textual critical view, I found it in interesting that the Byzantine text places PANTES in the penultimate, not ultimate position (with which the Slavonic and Vulgate agree).
The major modern critical texts seem sure of the Alexandrian ordering (which you used).
(Meanwhile, the Syriac omits the "all.")
I'm not persuaded that we should read much significance into the word order here. (After all, wouldn't the Byzantine order actually be slightly more emphatic through irregularity??)
After all, the stark abandonment by the disciples is emphasized textually in verses 51-52 (with the young man who at first follows, is grabbed, and flees in a state of disrobe) and 54 & 66-72 (Peter's following from a distance and thrice denying our Lord).
I think your point is perfectly valid, but I must respectfully submit that you may be viewing the word order here as more than it is.
Furthermore, I recognize that such is not your point: your main point is that THEY left - HE didn't.
Thus, please don't take my comments as disputing - in any way, shape, or form - the points you were making.
Praise be to our Lord that he endured the wickedness of men to obtain our salvation, suffering and dying in our place.
-Turretinfan