He Did Not Flinch

Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand” (Mark 14:42).

I think I’d have said it differently.

One word.

“Run!”

The disciples would run of course – but not Jesus.  Years later, Peter described the unfolding scenes of the following hours this way: “When they hurled their insults at him [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23).

Jesus didn’t want to die.  No serious reading of Mark’s Gethsemane account can miss the terror that tore at his soul.  Running would have made absolute sense.  But when Judas arrived with his unruly band of brigands, Jesus stayed.  He rebuked the crowd for treating him like a criminal, rebuked his disciples for adopting the same posture as the mob, and healed the wounded.
He may have been led “like a lamb to the slaughter,” but he was no pushover.

Before the High Priest he demanded witnesses be brought to substantiate the charges against him.  When criminally assaulted for insolence, Jesus demanded proof he had spoken improperly. Before the Jewish council and Pilate he admitted his identity as the Son of God and king of the Jews.  He did not flinch.

Christian people are called to “show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, and honor the king.”  But it doesn’t mean we roll over and play dead in the face of opposition.  We must speak out in favor of the oppressed, against injustice, and against sin, bringing light to the darkest of places – even if they are high places.  But we cannot adopt the weapons or vocabulary of the powers of darkness.  Never denying who we are, we follow the one nailed to a cross, entrusting our lives to Him who judges justly.

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