And all the apostles deserted him and fled.
standing between mobs
brings an unexpected
place of prayer
in a wilderness
of proliferating systems
there is no need
to search out a retreat
it finds us
in the most awkward
and common places
we will allow
is not where or when
or why to listen
in the silence of absence
there is naught else
worth attending to
If this verse is a fulfillment of scripture that the sheep will be scattered (Zechariah 13:7), there are additional questions to be asked about fulfillment. Aichele18 looks at that question in regard to Judas but it is equally applicable to disciples and Readers in every age.
If God wills Jesus to be betrayed, as is implied in the prayer-scene in Gethsemane, then Judas also does the will of God and deserves no condemnation. However, if Judas betrays Jesus on his own and is therefore worthy of condemnation, then in what sense are the scriptures “fulfilled?”
With the word “all”, Jesus is returned to the wilderness after his baptism (1:13). The impetus this time is from Powers and Principalities, not a Spirit of Belovedness. He is with the beasts without the offset of angels or a response to his Gethsemane prayer.
We begin again an extended wilderness stay that cannot be returned from with a learning to pass on. There are some wildernesses that are too deep. Like black holes, there is no return past its event horizon. The gravitational pull of the massive amount of material packed in an extraordinarily small space will not release what enters this black wilderness to come out the same way it came in.
Here we are lost in a dark night or a cloud that has taken the information of creation and lined a black hole with it. Ordinary activities of making meaning must now give way to unknowing.
If we were following Mark’s usual rapid recounting of events, this verse might very well follow verse 46 without the intervening episodes with a sword and an un-answerable question to a mob. In such a case Mark would immediately jump from the arrest of Jesus to the scattering of the disciples.
For such a small verse that has been anticipated for quite awhile, there are enough sparks to keep a Reader lingering.