“12Therefore I mil divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because HE POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH, and HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS, and He BORE THE SIN OF MANY, and made INTERCESSION for the transgressors.”(Isaiah 53:12).
The Son of God came at His first coming to the nation of Israel. He taught that generation from the Scriptures. He performed miracles in their presence. He fulfilled all of the prophecies that spoke about the Messiah. Jesus Christ offered His life on the Cross as a sacrifice for sin, complete and sufficient, for the full payment of all sin for any and all of those who would put their saving faith in Him, for all those believers before the cross, and for all believers throughout history going forward forever.
“37For I say to you that this WHICH IS WRITTEN must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” (Luke 22:37).
This was all according to the plans of God from the foundation of the world. Not only did Jesus willingly pay for the sins of all who would put their faith in Him through the shedding of His blood, but to add insult to injury, even His own beloved disciples FORSOOK Him out of fear for their own lives. When the Jewish mob came to arrest Jesus, He told His disciples not to fight them. Jesus said that He could call for more than twelve legions of angels if His purpose was to physically resist. He was arrested and His disciples FORSOOK Him and fled.
“56But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be FULFILLED. Then ALL THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM AND FLED.” (Matt. 26:56).
Even apostle Peter, who had gone in among the crowd to watch the proceedings before Caiaphas the high priest, from the outside courtyard, DENIED knowing the Lord three times.
“74Then he (Peter) began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. 75And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, YOU WILL DENY ME three times.’ So he went out and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:74).
The fact that Jesus was FORSAKEN by His disciples, tells us of the fear that they had; and for the love that Christ had for them. His purpose was to pay for the full penalty of sin, fully sufficient and complete, for all who would believe in Him by faith. His sacrifice did not depend upon their loyalty to Him, but it was instead His perfect loyalty to the Scriptures, so that all may be fulfilled.
As sinners, even His disciples could FORSAKE Him; but as their Holy Savior, Christ would not FORSAKE them. His true disciples were known by their faith. Even if they stumbled, Jesus knew who among those Old Covenant Hebrew crowds He was ministering to truly were His. He also knew those in those crowds who were not His true disciples.
“64‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would BETRAY HIM. 65And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ 66FROM THAT TIME MANY OF HIS DISCIPLES WENT BACK AND WALKED WITH HIM NO MORE.” (John 6:64-66).
“12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost EXCEPT THE SON OF PERDITION, that the SCRIPTURE MIGHT BE FULFILLED.” (John 17:12).
The FORSAKING of Jesus by His disciples was only during the time of the Cross in AD 30. It is different than the “falling away” of some of His followers prior to His second coming in AD 66-70. The FORSAKING was when they deserted Him out of fear before His resurrection. It was a sin that would be paid for by the atonement of Christ at the cross and His resurrection that was soon to occur.
Consider the dramatic shift in the attitude of His true faithful disciples AFTER a short time after He ascended – at Pentecost when they were born-again. The disciples went from being afraid and scattered to being bold, organized, and faithful through the extreme persecutions that they endured during the transition period. The resurrection of Christ brought new power and focus to those first century persecuted apostles and disciples.
[Also see: “Falling Away”]