“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’” (Mark 14:26–27, ESV)
Mark recounts the next act in Jesus’ inevitable path towards the cross: the events in Gethsemane.
I find it helpful sometimes to look up the meaning of conjunctions because they shed light on the text that it’s easy to miss. In this case the little adverbial conjunction which the ESV translates for. Jesus declares that all of his disciples will fall away for it is written… That little word for is the greek word ὅτι and the Louw-Nida dictionary defines ὅτι as a marker of cause or reason, based on an evident fact.
Think about that for a minute because it is very important. Jesus points out that all of his disciples would abandon him at the very moment of his greatest need based on the evident fact that it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ He quotes from Zechariah 13.7 here. [don’t miss the fact that Jesus had Zechariah at the tip of his tongue to quote without any help from a manuscript! He KNEW the scriptures.] The disciples would fall away because the scriptures had prophesied that they would fall away and that is an evident fact. The scriptures [which to Jesus meant the Old Testament] when they spoke, spoke truthfully.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary comments here: “The quotation is from Zechariah 13:7 and clearly indicates that the death of Jesus is the result of the action of God and that it results in the scattering of the sheep. The prediction was fulfilled.”
We have a choice here when it comes to the scriptures. We can either believe with Jesus that when the scriptures speak, they are speaking truly, or we can choose something else. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’ll side with how Jesus handled the scriptures.