“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for March 3, 2022. Photo by The Kaleidoscope on Pixabay.
“They feared the people” (Luke 22:2).
Why did the chief priests and teachers of the law fear the people?
Jesus was popular. When he entered a town, throngs gathered to be healed. When he set out in a boat, they ran ahead to meet him when he stepped ashore. When he taught in the temple, people hung on his words. When he rode into Jerusalem, the crowds hailed him as their next king.
They couldn’t compete. Jesus had them in the palm of his hand. If they didn’t stop him, everyone would follow him, the Romans would step in, and they would lose everything (John 11:48).
Do we know what it’s like to “fear the people?” Do we ever. If they knew what I thought, they’d never talk to me again. If they knew what I did, they’d kick me out. If they knew how I voted, they would be all over me. I’d be so embarrassed if they knew how many times I’d failed. Wow. We sure are afraid of they.
What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t think I have enough experience? What if they think I’m too old? What if I can’t do it? Yeah, we’re afraid of “what if,” too.
Jesus never feared the crowds. He wasn’t afraid when people tried to push him off a cliff. Or when everyone picked up stones to throw at him. Or when a mob showed up to arrest him. Or when the crowd yelled, “Crucify him!” Now those are some crowds to be afraid of!
Jesus didn’t fear the crowds. He loved them. He had compassion. He healed them. He taught them. He fed them. He saved them.
Here’s some good news. The Lord knows what you’re thinking. He knows what you’ve done. He knows how many times you failed. He knows how you voted (even though he probably doesn’t care). He knows. And it doesn’t change a thing. He still wants to be with you, teach you, and take care of you. He loves you.
Sure, we know what it’s like to be in their shoes and be afraid of people. Yet isn’t it amazing that the love of just one – Jesus – outweighs those crowds of people who stir up so much fear? That’s right, “His perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
When I’m afraid, Lord, remind me of your steadfast love that endures forever. Amen.