Speak Up

The man was on trial for a crime he hadn’t committed. But there were those who were out to get him. They wanted him dead. So they brought trumped up charges against him. They had false witnesses testify at his trial. They wanted to bring him down at all costs. They hated him. They despised the work he was doing. So they lied. They insisted that he be killed. They didn’t give him a legal trial. His trial was held in the dead of night. They convicted him before the public knew he had even been arrested.

It was as if they were on a witch hunt. Pursuing an innocent man, because they hated him. They were jealous of this man. This night was not the first time they were looking for reasons to kill him. They had relentlessly pursued him. Watching him in the temple as he explained the Scriptures. Watching for any sign that he was breaking Jewish laws so they could punish him. But he was always able to get away. Until now. On this night, he was betrayed by one of his own.

The thing is. Jesus knew the prophecies about himself. He knew what was in store. He had quoted those prophecies to his disciples, yet they didn’t understand the meaning of his words. Until much later. Until those prophecies had been fulfilled with his death and suffering and resurrection. Then their hearts were opened, and they understood all he had said was true.

And when the high priest asked if he should be freed, the people demanded that a murderer be released instead of this innocent man. The people. The crowd who stood by watching had just days before been praising and worshiping this man as he rode a donkey down the street. They were waving palm branches in his honor.

But oh. How their hearts had turned. When he who had taught a message of love and hope was on trial, they didn’t stand up for him. They wouldn’t dare speak the truth. Because if they did, they too might be brought to trial. And their fate could be the same as his. So they stayed silent about the truth. They demanded that he be killed.

This man. This innocent man was Jesus. They knew him to be the son of Mary and Joseph the carpenter. His brothers and sisters were known to these people. So when Jesus began teaching a message that directly opposed the ancient Jewish traditions, some believed publicly. Others believed privately. Others doubted his message. And still others revolted against him.

Jesus never shied away from teaching anyone who would listen. And actually, people followed him from place to place. They were eager to hear a message that spoke of love and humility. They were hungry to hear a message that spoke of treating others the way they want to be treated. They were amazed that a man who looked like them could perform miracles. He could heal the blind, the crippled, the deaf and the diseased. He could bring people back to life. He could calm a raging storm. They wanted what he had.

But were they willing to pay the price?

When Jesus was arrested that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, his followers scattered. Suddenly, his message seemed a threat to their lives. If they were found to be a follower of this man Jesus, what punishment awaited them? Would they too be brought to trial in a back room away from the courts and be declared guilty by false accusers? Suddenly this man with unusual teachings seemed more of a threat to their personal safety than they were willing to accept. They must protect themselves and their families. They thought. So they turned on him.

During the trial when asked what he was teaching, Jesus told them to ask the people who heard his teachings.  He said he hadn’t spoken in secret.  His message was public knowledge.  He wasn’t trying to hide the message of salvation from the crowds.  He was speaking loudly and boldly. He never watered down his message or shied away from speaking truth. He knew the cost and he continued this work his Father had laid out for him.

Oh.  There were times when he asked others who he had healed not to tell who had healed them.  But that was because his time had not yet come.  He wanted to postpone his arrest and crucifixion until more people had heard the good news.

But he definitely wasn’t shy about spreading the gospel of salvation.


The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Luke 10:2


How many of us speak of our faith only in secret?  Only in the confines of our church on Sunday morning?  Or in our Bible study group? Or in the safety of our homes? Or with our Christian friends?  How many of us, instead of trying to win the world to Christ, try to shield our faith by standing silent in public? Even when we see and hear wrong being taught and applauded, do we stand silent? Or do we speak up?

I dare say that we’ve become too comfortable with keeping our faith to ourselves. We say that we pray for the lost. We give money so others can share the Good News. But do we put our faith on the line by speaking boldly about right and wrong.

Recently, I was talking to someone about current events. We were both disturbed by the way our culture is heading. This person mentioned to me that someone needs to do something. And I thought to myself. Why not you? Why not me? Why don’t we believers do something and say something? If not you, then who? If not me, then who?

Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest. John 18:19-24

You can read the full story of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and resurrection in John 18-20.

Safe Place

The man who sits in the oval office has recently given his first public interview. He said his faith is a safe place. He enjoys going to church because it gives him time to be alone. His wife hangs inspirational quotes on his mirror. He doesn’t want to proselytize. In other words, he doesn’t want to convert anyone to his faith.

I thought I would examine his words. I want to see if they ring true to Scripture. Because they could be my words, if I’m not careful.

What does it mean for faith to be a safe place? Should my faith be safe? Yes, it is by grace I have been saved through faith, and not of my self. It is the gift of God. That feels safe. I feel safe knowing that God loves me. Regardless of what I do or what I say, God’s love is eternal. His love for me will not change. That feels safe. I know that I can turn to God with my deepest wounds and hurts, my successes and failures. He is rooting for me. He is fighting for me. He never leaves me. That is my safety.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8

If this man’s faith is a safe place, why doesn’t his wife hang Scripture on his mirror? Why not fill his mind with God’s inspired word instead of someone else’s words? Wouldn’t he feel more secure seeing a Bible verse and thinking on it?

Ever since I read that I’ve been wondering. Should our faith be a safe place?  Do we go to church to be alone?  Who does that? In Hebrews 10:25, we’re told not to neglect meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. The point of attending church is to be with other like believers. Not to be alone.

I wonder. Is he looking for safety and peace in all the wrong places?  Am I?

Is my faith a safe place?  Yes, I rest safely in the arms of Jesus as I walk this road of life. I feel safe in God’s love and care.  But standing for my faith is another story.  Where’s the safety in that these days?  What have I got to lose if I share my faith and my beliefs?  Possibly everything.  Do I stay silent in order to feel safe? If my faith is safe, is it faith at all?


You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15


So basically, what this man is saying is he doesn’t want to help fulfill the Great Commission. You know the one that commands us to tell others about Jesus Christ. I have to ask myself. Am I willing to share the Good News of my faith, or do I too want to keep it to myself?

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, Of all peoples. baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Doesn’t the Great Commission still apply even when our basic liberties and rights are being threatened?  

I wonder what the twelve disciples of Jesus would say if they heard someone say they didn’t want to share the gospel. Would they laugh or cry? Knowing the suffering they endured for sharing their faith, what would they say this man.

Take the world, but give me Jesus. All its joys are but a name. But His love abideth ever, through eternal years the same.

Fannie J. Crosby

I wonder.  Does the man who leads the free world feel secure in his eternity?  He has signed off on ending the life of unborn babies. Will that be on his conscience?  Will that be in his book of records that God reviews as he someday stands in judgment?  I shouldn’t even ask these questions.  I am not God.  I don’t have to make these decisions.  What I must do is faithfully pray for this man.  For I too will be judged.  What sins do I try to cover with my pious acts and words?

There is no free ride to heaven. It takes effort on my part. Someone else, namely Jesus Christ, did the hard part. He died for my sins. Now it’s up to me to keep my spiritual nose clean. I need to stay true to his teachings and act accordingly. No. It’s not necessarily a safe thing to do. This practice of dying to myself, helping the needy, sharing my faith. But who wants to just slide into heaven? Let’s go in with a bang. 

Father, I pray that the scales will fall from my eyes and I will see your Son clearly. I pray that I will recognize the error of my selfish ways and repent of my sins. Help me to live out my faith boldly knowing there may be a cost.

My faith has found a resting place,
  Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
  His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
  I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
    And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
  This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
  He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
  The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
  Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
  The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
  For me His life He gave.

~~Eliza E. Hewitt

Great Commission

I heard the phrase on the news again. I never want another person to have to go through what I’ve gone through. It’s a phrase I hear often on the news. Someone was treated unfairly. Someone’s child was bullied. Someone lost a loved one too soon. Someone was swindled out of their life savings. Someone lost everything. Someone was the victim of a crime. And the list goes on.

We never want others to experience the same difficulties we’ve faced. So we share our story. Hoping someone will learn lessons we learned too late. Hoping our loss will help steer someone clear of the same grief. Or teach them how to cope better than we did.

Does it work? Our sharing? Do others listen and learn from our tough times? We only hope they do. Because we’ve learned from those times that we can survive. We’ve learned some wounds will heal and become scars. Reminders of our suffering. We’ve learned we must forgive. We’ve learned that life goes on. Even when we feel that we can’t. But we do.



But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? Romans 10:14


What if we would say this. I don’t want anyone else to go through life not knowing God. I don’t want anyone to live life thinking they have to be self sufficient. I don’t want anyone else to live without God being their source of strength. I don’t want anyone else to die without being ready to meet God. What would I have to do to make sure that happened?

If only everyone knew that in times of grief, God will give sustaining grace. If only everyone experienced the peace that comes with God’s forgiveness. Do people know that God doesn’t lie? When God makes a promise, He keeps it. Always. Does everyone know that God forgives and forgets? Does everyone know that God is three in one? God the Father. God the Son, Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit. They’re all different, but they’re one.

Does it work? Our sharing of our faith? Does sharing how God will never quit loving each of us and that He’s always available make a difference in someone else’s life? I hope and pray that it makes a difference. Otherwise. People will be lost. People will live without hope if they haven’t heard that God loves them.

We should tell our story.  Our hurts. Our fears. Our shame. Our successes.  Our failures.  Our losses. Our redemption.  How else will others know salvation is worth it? How will someone else know that a relationship with God is the most important one they could ever have? How will the world know unless those who walk with Christ lead others to him?

There is a great commission. Go and tell everyone that Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords. That Jesus died for them. That he wants to spend eternity with them in heaven. That they can escape hell.