Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:23-24
The ESV version reads that the Jews ‘gathered round him.’ In the English vernacular, that sounds harmless enough. Isn’t this something a family or group of friends does to hear a good story? However, in the original language, “gathered round him” comes from “closed in around him.” In other words, the Jews surrounded Jesus, trapping Him, attempting to once and for all pin Him down with their questions.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been closed in, trapped, in order to have information coerced out of you. This is probably a common experience. If you can relate, you probably recall the feelings vividly. You might have even found it hard to breathe as the realization slowly dawned on you that you were about to be snared.
The things which cause sweaty palms and a racing heart for most of us did not have this effect, most likely, on Jesus. He did not fear controversy; He was willing to instigate it for the sake of truth. He did not fear rejection; He knew the hearts of men and was secure in His relationship with His Father. He did not fear death; He chose the timing, place, and manner of His own.
As Jesus was being surrounded for interrogation, He appeared connected to only one reality. What was God leading Him to say? No kind of fear clouded His obedience. While there was the temptation to be afraid, for Jesus was tempted in all things, fear never had a place to land because He did not nurture the fearful thoughts and allow them to take on a life of their own internally.
The times that I have refrained from speaking what I should have, I did so out of fear. Rejection. Anger. Controversy. These appeared to be legitimate deterrents at the time. Not true. Though any of the three might have been the result, it was my fear of them that caused me to shut my mouth. Today, I know better. Jesus spoke what He was prompted to speak – no matter the outcome. Now, it’s a matter of following Him. Some days are better than others but I’m on the journey.
You watched men plot and scheme and kept a clear head for the things of heaven. Teach me to live like that. Amen