Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Matthew 26:31-32 ESV, Daily Office for Saturday, Proper 10
Because of him, the apostles fell away. He made it too costly to identify with him that night. “Because of him” any who followed would risk Roman flogging and cross or at the least Priestly religious rejection, meaning loss of family and communal bonds in the bargain. He spoke of good things to come but he withheld spiritual assurance and left them to their fears and flaws. Because of him, they fell away.
But because of him, because in all things he would “go before them,” they would be saved. He had to go alone to the cross. Had the apostles slogged up the hill with him, there would be just one more gaggle of executed rebels on the Roman books, not a band of witnesses to preach and write the Good News of the crucified and risen savior of the world. They fell away “because of him,” not only because of their fears and flaws but because he used those weaknesses to accomplish his work, suffering and dying alone for the sins of the world, an act that nobody else could pretend to accomplish. Because of him, they fell away, and there could be no mistake about who did what for whom.
Read it all.