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 Jews ‘gathered round him.’ In the English vernacular, that sounds harmless enough. This is something a group of friends does to hear a good story. However, in the original language, ‘closed around him’ was the word picture. The Jews surrounded Jesus, attempting to trap Him, hoping to hear Him incriminate Himself when attempting to answer their questions.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been closed in, trapped, in order to have information coerced out of you. If you have, you probably recall the feelings vividly. You probably found it hard to breathe as the realization slowly dawned on you that you were about to be snared. The maneuvers that caused sweaty palms for most of us did not have this effect 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 was not afraid of dying; He chose the timing, place, and manner of His own death.
As Jesus was interrogated, He stayed focused on one reality. What was God leading Him to say? No vestige of fear clouded His obedience. While there was the temptation to be afraid, for Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, fear never had a place to land because He did not nurture fearful thoughts. To be afraid is to forget the power of God. To tremble and take a way of escape is to embrace unbelief.
The times that I have refrained from speaking what I should have, I did so out of fear of rejection, anger, or controversy. These reasons seemed to be legitimate deterrents at the time but I was spiritually ignorant. Today, I know better. My eyes are wide open as I realize that Jesus spoke when prompted to speak – no matter the outcome.
You watched men plot and scheme and kept a clear head for the things of heaven. Teach me to live like that. Amen