The Standard March 11, 2021
When the time for his betrayal was close at hand, Jesus took eleven disciples to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Eventually, Judas arrived with armed men sent from the chief priests and the elders. Betrayed by a kiss, Jesus told Judas, “do what you came for, friend.” (Matthew 26:50) After the signal, when the group seized Jesus to arrest him, Simon Peter took out his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus reprimanded him. “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26 :53-54) Of course, Jesus knew the charges against him were false and that he had done nothing wrong. In fact, he had done everything perfectly right. Throughout the gospels we read of instances when Jesus did not speak up against being falsely accused or wronged.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, Simon Peter wrote, “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” (1 Peter 2:20-24)
Certainly, there are times we should speak up when being misunderstood or falsely accused. We never should remain silent in the face of physical or sexual abuse. There are other times, however, when it is best to remain quiet and not concern ourselves with explaining our actions. Standing up for our rights or making sure people see us in the correct light are unnecessary in some circumstances. Just as we will misunderstand someone’s intentions or behavior here or there, we will be misunderstood. Jesus is infinitely more pure than we are, yet he did not take up for himself in the face of every false allegation. He should be our model. At times, it is best not to defend our reputations or actions.
In the Old Testament, after surviving ten plagues, Pharaoh finally agreed to release the Israelites from slavery. Almost immediately, he regretted this decision and sent his army with chariots and horses to get back the slaves. When the Jewish people saw the Egyptian troops in pursuit, they were terrified and asked Moses if he had brought them out into the desert to die. “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’” (Exodus 14:13-14)
God parted the Red Sea and rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army. The Lord fought for them. They only had to be still.