Courage to Speak
08 August 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 7:10-13 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. (John 7:10–13 NLT)
Jesus left Galilee to go to Jerusalem, but stayed away from the crowds. Each year for the main Jewish festivals: Passover, Pentecost, Hanukkah, and Shelters, the population of Jerusalem doubled or nearly tripled. People came from all over Palestine and even from other countries to be part of the celebrations and festivities. This year, in Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders were trying to track Jesus down. Their intentions were not good!
People brought their stories of Jesus’ teachings and miracles as they came from all across the country. Those coming in from abroad were eager to hear about this man many were saying might be the long-awaited Messiah. Everyone was talking about Jesus of Nazareth, but the opinions varied greatly. Many considered Jesus to be a fraud and it was to the advantage of the Jewish leaders to promote that opinion. The leaders were circulating threats against anyone who believed in or followed Jesus and most people were afraid to speak favorably about him because they feared the consequences.
It still takes courage to speak up for Jesus! We don’t have to be classically trained theologians to tell what we’ve seen and experienced. We don’t have to know all the Old Testament prophecies and all the ways Jesus fulfilled them. We each have a “Jesus story” of what he has done for us and how he has become real in our own lives and experiences. We don’t have to argue eloquently to prove anything and we don’t have to convince others we’re right. We can simply tell our story and let the Holy Spirit make application to people’s lives as he sees fit!
Father, I pray for special grace and courage for my brothers and sisters around the world who face great risk in speaking up for Jesus. Thank you for their faithfulness. Help my friends and me to have courage to be witnesses of Jesus Christ our Lord!