Friday, May 5, 2017, 7:03 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Why are You Afraid?” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 18 (quoting select vv. NASB).
Prophecy Fulfilled (summary chapters 13:1-18:18)
Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) had just been betrayed by one of his closest companions, Judas, who turned him over to the authorities to be arrested and to be put on trial, as though he was guilty of committing a crime. As well, Jesus had just predicted the denial of another one of his disciples, Peter. Then, he spoke words of encouragement, hope, comfort and instruction to his disciples (the 11 who were left), in order to prepare them for what was coming next. Following this he prayed to the Father for his disciples, and for all who would yet believe in him as Lord and as Savior.
When Jesus had finished praying, Judas came with a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees, who then arrested Jesus and took him away. In the midst of all this, Peter fulfilled Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial of Jesus, by denying his Lord three times.
Why Strike Me? (vv. 19-24)
The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Jesus Christ had done no wrong. During his years of ministry on the earth, he healed the sick and afflicted, comforted the sorrowful, encouraged the timid, raised the dead, fed the hungry, and delivered people from demons. He performed miracle after miracle in people’s lives and hearts. Although he was tempted of Satan, he never once sinned in all that he did. Yet, he also confronted sin in sinful humans, warned of divine judgment, and called for repentance and for faith in him as their Messiah and Lord, and promised hope, healing and eternal life for the penitent and the obedient (to him).
And, for this, plus his healing of people on the Sabbath, and his refusal to follow the traditions of men, and because he claimed to be who he is, he was hated, persecuted, falsely accused, arrested, put on trial, and put to death. Yet, while on trial, Jesus defended his ministry, and he questioned the authorities as to the legitimacy of their actions. Yes, there were moments when he kept silent, but he also answered his accusers by telling the truth. He didn’t mince words, either, but he was direct in what he said, and he got right to the point of the matter. He was never wishy-washy at all.
Jesus told us that we would be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted, and eventually put to death, so he is our example for how we should respond when we are falsely accused, arrested on trumped up charges, and put on trial for believing in him and for sharing with others the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not resist arrest, for he knew this was the reason why he was put on this earth, to die for our sins, yet this did not mean he kept silent in the whole process. He used this as an opportunity to give testimony to who he is, and to defend what he did and said.
What Hypocrisy! (vv. 28-32)
Then they *led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. Therefore Pilate went out to them and *said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.
Do you see the hypocrisy in all of this? The chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the Pharisees hated Jesus. They were jealous of him. They refused to believe he was the Son of God, the Christ, their Messiah and Lord. They closed their ears to the truth. They opposed him at every turn, and they tried frequently to trip him up, hoping to discredit him. While they were good at appearing righteous on the outside, though, inside they were full of wickedness. And, now here they were getting ready to put a righteous and innocent man to death, and yet they were concerned about being ceremonially clean (not defiled), so that they might take part in the celebration of the Passover, which was, in fact, a precursor to Jesus’ blood sacrifice for us on the cross for our sins so that we might be liberated from slavery to sin and so we might be partakers of God’s heavenly kingdom.
What is Truth? (vv. 33-38)
Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?”
If we have not already been brought before those in authority to give an account for who we are (in Christ), and for why we do what we do, one day this may take place in our lives, if we live long enough. And, we will need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to speak the words God would have us to say as a testimony to him, to his saving grace, and to his gospel of grace. And, we should not be afraid of those who can kill our bodies, but who cannot kill our souls, but we should pray that we would speak boldly in Jesus’ name in sharing the reason for the hope that is within us.
There are a lot of people now, in both the world of politics and in the Christian world who are coming against the true gospel, as taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. And, they are coming against Christ’s servants and messengers, too, because they tell people the truth of what Jesus taught. These people are pushing for tolerance of all faiths and of all lifestyles, and thus they object to a gospel which warns of divine judgment, which confronts sin in sinful humans, which calls for repentance and obedience to Christ, and to his Word, and yet promises hope and healing for the penitent. They are, thus, pushing a gospel which is comprised of “good deeds” only, but that doesn’t teach Jesus as the only way to God, or repentance and obedience to Christ as required for eternal life with God in heaven.
Yet, Jesus (his Word) told us that these things would take place. The Bible says we are destined for afflictions, persecutions, and hardships, and even some of us for captivity and for martyrdom. We were born into this world not just to be saved from our sins, and to live for our Lord, but also to suffer for the sake of his name, to share his gospel with the world around us, and to be hated, persecuted, mistreated and, perhaps, even to die for our faith.
Jesus did not die for our sins just so we could escape hell and just so we could have the promise of heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; Lu. 9:23-25).
These are some of the things we must teach, because there are many liars and deceivers who are giving people a false hope of security with God in heaven based on half-truths (lies). Yet, when we teach these things, we must be ready to be hated and persecuted, in return, for there are many enemies of the cross of Christ who do not want us telling people the truth. And, yet, we must not fear their threats, but we must honor Christ our Lord.
Why Are You Afraid? / An Original Work / December 5, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Do not be afraid.
Your Lord is always by your side.
Serve the Lord in righteousness
Before Him all your days.
Those who hate the light
Will not come to the Lord.
They fear their deeds
Might be noticed.
So, they hate the light,
And they embrace the night.
Do not be afraid,
Although your enemy attacks.
Dare to share your testimony
Of God’s saving grace.
Do not fear their threats,
But honor Christ, your Lord.
Be prepared to give an answer
For the hope you have,
With gentleness; respect.
Why are you afraid?
For all that’s hidden will be shown.
What I tell you, speak in daylight.
Let the truth be known.
Do not be afraid
Of those who’ll take your life.
Fear the Lord with understanding.
Trust Him with your life,
And give not up to strife.
Do not be afraid.
Take courage, it is I, your Lord.
Bow before Me; now adore Me.
Oh, why do you doubt?
Listen to the Lord.
Get up, and bear His name!
Run and tell the world He loves them.
Jesus came to save.
Give Him your all today.