After finished approximately 80 posts on learning from what Jesus did (rather than from what he taught) we began what might be called a Dictionary of the Gospels. The intent is to go through the ABCs of those insights set forth in the gospels that are relevant to and supportive of the same goal – living a Christ-like life. Having talked about Anxiety, we now move ahead to B is for boldness
Since words often have a wide range of meaning it will well to define what, in this post, we mean by “bold.” As I will use the term, to be bold does not mean to be brash. The gospels do not support actions that are brash, that is, impudent, tactless, as in “He is a brash young man who drives recklessly.” By “bold” we will be describing the person who is not hesitant or fearful in the face opposition or danger. The life of Jesus displays a number of cases in which he acted boldly. Let’s look at them and consider how they may apply to the way we are to live.
As a boy, Jesus went with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. We do not know what other boys were doing but we do know that Jesus went into the temple where he sat with the rabbis in a learned discussion of religious issues. Rabbis were the most influential and highly regarded segment of society at that time, so it is amazing that the lad Jesus had the boldness to enter their presence as though he were one of them (Luke 2:41-52).
Jesus had begun his public ministry. One day as he was walking along he saw Matthew the tax collector sitting at his booth. Jesus looked him in the eye and said, “Follow me.” Then, as the text puts it, “Matthew got up and followed him” (Matt. 9:9). On another occasion he said to Philip, “Follow me” (John 1:43) and he did. When he told the rich man to go sell everything he had and then, “Come, follow me” (Mark 10:21), the rich man went away sorrowfully. Jesus taught that whoever wanted to be his disciple must deny himself, take up his cross, and “Follow me” (Luke 9:23). Without hesitancy of any sort Jesus simply told his disciples to follow him. No explanation, no promise of reward – a bold challenge.
When Jesus entered the temple and found that it had been turned into a market place he drove out the merchants, turned their tables upside down, and declared, “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers” (Luke 19:46). In the Garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers burst in asking which one was Jesus, he very calmly said, “I am he,” and they “fell back and sank to the ground” (John 18:24). It was an extremely bold act on the part of Jesus in view of the fact that within 12 hours they would nail him to the cross.
So, in what ways should boldness like this be a part of Christian demeanor today? I believe it is clear from the current state of the world there could be in the near future a significant demand for Christian boldness. Even now in a number of places in the world, followers of Christ are sacrificing their lives rather that denying their allegiance to God and his Son, Christ Jesus. Prophecy clearly teaches, in broad if not specific terms, that at the close of history there will be the final battle between good and evil. The call for us is to boldly proclaim, by life as well as word, the redemptive message of faith in Christ. Like our Master, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and “follow him. ”