He Courageously Faced Opposition
21 Jehovah’s Son knew well in advance that he would face severe opposition when here on earth. (Isaiah 50:4-7) He faced many threats of death, culminating in the one described at the outset of this chapter. How did Jesus maintain his courage in the face of such dangers? Well, what was Jesus doing before that mob came to arrest him? He was praying fervently to Jehovah. And what did Jehovah do? The Bible tells us that Jesus “was favorably heard.” (Hebrews 5:7) Jehovah sent an angel from heaven to strengthen his brave Son.—Luke 22:42, 43.
22 Shortly after being strengthened, Jesus said to his apostles: “Get up, let us go.” (Matthew 26:46) Think of the bravery in those words. “Let us go,” he said, knowing that he would ask the mob to spare his friends, knowing that those companions would abandon him and flee, and knowing that he would go on alone to face the hardest ordeal of his life. Alone, he faced an illegal and unjust trial, ridicule, torture, and an agonizing death. Throughout it all, his courage never failed him.
23 Was Jesus being reckless? No; recklessness has little to do with true courage. In fact, Jesus taught his followers to be cautious, to withdraw prudently from danger in order to continue doing God’s will. (Matthew 4:12; 10:16) In this case, though, Jesus knew that there was no way to withdraw. He knew what God’s will involved. Jesus was determined to keep his integrity, so the only way to go was forward, right into the trial.
24 How often Jesus’ followers have walked courageously in their Master’s footsteps! Many have stood firm in the face of ridicule, persecution, arrest, imprisonment, torture, and even death. Where do imperfect humans get such courage? It does not simply arise from within. As Jesus received help from above, so do his followers. (Philippians 4:13) Never fear, then, what the future may bring. Be determined to keep your integrity, and Jehovah will give you the courage you need. Keep drawing strength from the example of our Leader, Jesus, who said: “Take courage! I have conquered the world.”—John 16:33.
Historians have noted that the tombs of the rabbis were venerated in much the same way as were the tombs of prophets and patriarchs.
How Can You Follow Jesus?
● How can Jesus’ example help you to speak courageously, even if people find the truths you share offensive?—John 8:31-59.
● Why should we never let a morbid dread of Satan or his demons hold us back from helping others?—Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 1:23-28.
● Why should we be willing to risk persecution in order to show compassion for the downtrodden?—John 9:1, 6, 7, 22-41.
● How did Jesus’ hope for the future help him to face trials, and how can your hope give you courage?—John 16:28; 17:5; Hebrews 12:2.
21, 22. (a) Jesus received what help before facing the hardest of his trials? (b) How did Jesus prove courageous to the end?
23. Explain why Jesus was not reckless in the way that he faced danger and the threat of death.
24. Why may we be assured that we can prove courageous in the face of any trial that may arise?