History Repeats Itself
When Jacob was returning from Paddan Aram, where he had spent about 20 years working for his uncle Laban, and was approaching Canaan, he was told that his brother Esau was on his way with 400 men to meet him.
Jacob got so desperately anxious for his life and the lives of his family, that he spent the whole night fighting in prayer for a solution about what to do. If we remember, when he had left Canaan, his brother had promised to kill him for having stolen his blessing of the firstborn.
As Jacob looked up and saw his brother from afar off, he decided to divide his family in three groups. The only thing in his mind was that Esau would kill them all in revenge for what had happened 20 years ago.
So, in the first group, Jacob set his maidservants with their children, so that in case they got killed, the others behind could have a chance to escape. In the second group, he set Leah with her children, perhaps to safeguard the lives of Rachel, Joseph and himself, just in case.
Fortunately, for everyone’s luck, Esau had changed his mind in the course of those 20 years and nothing drastic happened to anyone. However, everyone with the minimum of commonsense can see that this attitude of Jacob’s was everything but fair.
But let’s see how different Jesus did to prevent History from repeating itself. The text is in Matthew 26:36-39.
Soon after the Last Supper, as he sensed arrest, he took his disciples and fled to a hiding place in the Gethsemani. At the entrance of the Garden, he left eight of the disciples and told them to watch, and took farther inside the other three disciples: Peter, James and John. Perhaps he thought, if there was a fight, at least the second group would have a chance to escape. In another place farther in, he told the three disciples to stay put and watch, while he would go deeper inside to spend some time
Now, I have been wondering how much of these two cases have in common. One thing we can all be certain of: Both men, Jacob and Jesus were going through the same kind of anxieties in fear for their lives. Bear in mind that the parallel between the facts within the cases is astounding. Would it be appropriate to think of the eight disciples at the entrance of the Garden as the facsimile to the maidservants of Jacob with their children? How about the three disciples in the second group meant to represent Leah with her children? And scary of all, Jesus himself for Jacob with Rachel and Joseph? Luke does say that Jesus was indeed so anxious as to sweat even drops of blood. Anyway but… I don’t think either case justifies the measures taken. Both sound too unfair. Any idea out there to set my mind at easy?