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Run or Defend

“What have I done?” John wondered as he stopped from running to catch his breath.

John is a big man, like his brother James and his father. John’s father taught him to never backed down from a good fight. He has a reputation to uphold as the son of thunder. But when the high priests’ soldiers came with swords to take Jesus, his friend and mentor, he ran. There were so many of them.

Apparently, the soldiers had followed Judas to our private spot and when he kissed Jesus, they knew he was the one they sought.  Everyone ran.

Stopping to catch his breath and certain that no soldiers followed, John stops to reflect. He realizes that Jesus warned them that this very night, they all would abandon him. This recollection causes John shame.

“What good would I be to Jesus if I, too, am captured and imprisoned?” John thought at that moment.

“The soldiers will be taking Jesus to the courtyard,” John decides.

Making his way to the courtyard, he catches his second wind and begins to run, again. He stays close to the buildings along the streets to remain somewhat hidden in their shadows. The sun has set and the sky is darkening more and more. John feels some comfort in that fact. It will be easier to remain hidden.

When he reaches the courtyard, a band of soldiers are assembled there still in formation. John is struck by a sudden chill when the light of a fire glistens off the swords. The swords remind him that Peter brandished a sword and struck one of the soldiers. Jesus stopped Peter, then, John recalls.

“What was it Jesus said to Peter?” John digs deep in thought to remember. “Oh, yes, he said, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’”

John remembers now why he did not fight or even challenge the soldiers. He recalls believing that Jesus would handle the situation with his smooth tongue or some magic. But he didn’t. He succumbed willingly.

“I guess Jesus figures he’ll take his chances in court,” John decides. “Maybe he’s right. After all, he hasn’t done anything wrong.”

He debates on whether he should stay or go and wait for Jesus to return. Just as he about to determine to leave, he sees Jesus standing, hands still bound and soldiers surrounding him. He watches for a moment to see what they will do with him. He’s not sure but he believes one of them strikes Jesus across the face. John lunges toward them as an automatic response. John believes Jesus notices him and he realizes he has leaped forward into the light. John jumps back into the shadows of the building and presses his back tight against the wall.

With his arms to his side at a 45-degree angle, he braces himself against that wall. He is overcome by fear and shame. In his young life, he has never known a man who loves him like Jesus does. He knows his father loves him, but his dad was often impatient with him and often became loud and angry when John failed to do what his father told him.

Jesus is not like that. Even when he did not always understand what Jesus taught them, Jesus seldom raised his voice, but took time to explain.

“But I can’t,” John cries inside himself, “I can’t help Jesus, now. I don’t know what to do.”

Fighting away tears, John decides to run and find his brother James or one of the older disciples. There is strength in numbers.  John thinks to himself that if he could find Peter, he’ll know what to do. Peter always seems to know what to do.

They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.  Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”  Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.  “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him” Mark 14: 53 – 65.

John and the disciples ran from the garden. Jesus stopped them from defending him with violence at that moment. The odds were in the soldiers’ favor and he didn’t want his disciples to be imprisoned or die. He had a better plan for them.

Jesus didn’t defend himself against the false accusers. He also knew what the High Priest’s response would be when he admitted that he was the Messiah and the Son of God. The silence and the testimony were part of God’s plan for Jesus. It was his time to die.

Jesus could have escaped or somehow avoided capture. He had at other times according to Gospel accounts.  He knew it was time for him to fulfill his purpose – God’s will for his life. Jesus had performed miracles. He had taught many truths. He changed the way the Jews had looked at the Law, the Commandments and the Scriptures. The good he did and the lessons he taught were not his purpose. He did this to prove that he was who he claimed to be when the High Priest asked.

People are still holding court against Jesus. Falsely accusing him of being just another good teacher or philosopher, comparing him to Mohammed, Confucius and other religious leaders.

What about us? Do we believe the evidence Jesus presents? Do we agree with the High Priest who calls Jesus’ claims blasphemy?

If you agree with Jesus, your purpose is like the disciples – to love God with all your being and to love others, friend or foe, as much as you love yourself. But it doesn’t stop there. He also told his disciples to go into the world and teach what he taught.

What did Jesus teach? He taught things like John 6:35. Speaking of himself, he said, “I am the bread of life…” and “I am the good shepherd…” and “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

To teach what Jesus taught and wants us to teach will offend many. It will sound religious and bigoted. Jesus did not teach religion, but a relationship (John 17:23) and he commanded his disciples to take the truth to all people (Matthew 28: 18-20), so all who believe can know their identity and purpose in life (John 10:10).

It is time to defend Jesus, but not militantly or with condemnation. We are to defend Jesus’ Truth with our lives because we love God with all our being and all others, no matter their lifestyle, religion, nationality, creed or race. Jesus’ purpose was to be the sinless sacrifice for all of us (John 3:16 – 18).

Categories: Life Purpose

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at douglasknight85@gmail.com.

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