John 1:9-13 "There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

Rarely, if ever, do human beings comprehend Jesus' courage! Jesus trusted God at every turn in life, in every circumstance. For us to declare that we comprehend how much faith Jesus had in God probably is a commentary on how little we understand faith. To have great faith in God requires enormous courage. Without courage, there is little faith.

Jesus had the courage to be rejected by those who claimed to have the greatest understanding of God. Enduring rejection is traumatic. Enduring rejection by those who hate and despise us is disconcerting. Enduring rejection by those who should understand and encourage us is devastating. Jesus had the courage to endure the rejection of those he could not "amen." These people mistook faith for rebellion.

Jesus had the courage to renounce injustice. Matthew 8 and 9 reveal he healed lepers, Gentiles, demon-possessed people, paralytics, and the blind. He called a tax collector to follow him and associated with sinners. Those were the wrong kind of people! Either they suffered because of their evil past or they rejected the "known ways of God!" When the religious questioned his priorities and actions, he said, "The sick need the doctor. You need to learn the meaning of Hosea 6:6, 'I desire compassion, not sacrifice.'"

Jesus had the courage to be lonely. After his "flesh and blood of life" lesson in John 6, many of his disciples deserted him never to follow him again. This withdrawal of disciples was so severe that he asked the twelve if they also were leaving. A following of twelve is not a big following!

Examples could be multiplied: he had the courage to surrender living to God; he had the courage to do what was right when no one understood; he had the courage to suffer for God's values; he had the courage to die for God's will; he had the courage to trust God to raise him from the dead. Jesus had great faith which demanded great courage.

What about us? Often we disassociate faith in God from courage. It takes courage to redirect life. It takes courage to leave less accurate understandings and grow toward more accurate understandings. It takes courage to face raging personal problems that control our minds, our actions, or both. It takes courage to help those suffering as a result of injustice. It takes courage to understand and submit to God's values and priorities. It takes courage to die to self in order to become alive to God.

How is your faith in God? Do we have the courage to live by faith in God?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 27 June 2004

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