So, from that day on they plotted to take his life. Therefore, Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead, he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples. John 17:53-57
It was on Tuesday of Passion week the religious leaders confronted Jesus. According to the gospel of John, the religious leaders challenged Jesus four separate times, after they heard that he raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was issued various challenges by the Pharisees and Sadducees over subjects such as marriage in heaven, paying taxes to Caesar, and the source of His authority (Matthew 21:23—23:39; Mark 11:27—12:44; Luke 20:1—21:4). They even sent their best minds to try to trap Jesus. After hearing from Caiaphas, the high priest, they decided the best way to deal with Jesus is to put Him to death. Thus, began Jesus’ journey toward Calvary.
Tuesday of Passion week is also the day Jesus commented on the widow’s donation (Mark 12; Luke 21). On this day, Jesus was approached by several God-fearing Greeks (John 12:20–36). Tuesday would also be the day Jesus spoke His seven “woes” against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13–36) and the evening on which He delivered the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24—25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5–36).
To be clear, Jesus knew the religious leaders were plotting to take His life. He withdrew to a village called Ephraim to make sure they would not kill prematurely. Jesus had both the power and the authority to stop them. Yet, He did not because He wanted to fulfill His mission as the sacrificial offering for the sins of humanity.
Most believers will be confronted by Jesus-haters at some point in their lives. We will be challenged on our faith, and we may even pay the ultimate price for our faith in Christ Jesus. Yet we must remain resolute and not be timid in proclaiming the gospel message.
As a Christian apologist, I try to avoid vain arguments. But I don’t back down from proclaiming the name of Jesus whenever or wherever the Lord instructs me to do so. My motto is “to live is Christ, and to die is but a gain” (Philippians 1:21). Believers should not be afraid to proclaim the name of Jesus when necessary.
When the world challenges our faith, we should do three things. First, make sure our responses are scripture-based. We don’t have to be Bible scholars to defend our Christian faith. Just let the word of God speaks for itself. Second, don’t get upset or offended. People challenge our faith because they do not know the truth. Their minds have been darkened by the deceiver. We should think of all challenges to our Christian faith as an opportunity to share our faith and proclaim the name of Jesus. Third, avoid shaming or guilting anyone to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a choice and not an obligation. Fourth, be considerate in your response and pray for the discernment to know when to walk away in love.
Jesus walked away in love and withdrew to Ephraim to spend time with His disciples. He knew there was nothing He was going to say to these religious leaders that would change their minds about Him. When we face people who are stubborn in their rejection of Jesus, we should simply share our faith and move on for the Holy Spirit can do the rest.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How do you deal with people who challenge your Christian beliefs?
What have you learned from today’s devotional about dealing with Jesus-haters?
Prayer- Most Holy Father, I thank you for saving me through Christ Jesus. On this Tuesday of Passion week, I want to rededicate my life to you for sacrificing your Son at Calvary. Please help me to be Christ-like when my Christian faith is challenged by Jesus-haters. May my responses be edifying and filled with grace as you Holy Spirit helps me to give a Spirit-filled response to all who refuse to accept Jesus.