Caleb sat close to me on our love seat. Our family was viewing the episode, “Betrayal” from The Bible series on Maundy Thursday. As we watched Jesus surrender himself to the angry throng of soldiers, high priests, Pharisees, and servants, Caleb turned to me and asked,
“Why didn’t Jesus run away, Mommy?” and then Caleb continued, “Everyone else ran away. Why didn’t Jesus run away too?”
Caleb saw the danger. Caleb knew this story. He understood that a death sentence, physical torture, and death by crucifixion were forthcoming. Yet, Caleb still found it incomprehensible that Jesus would surrender himself to death. His followers chose to flee the danger and save themselves, why didn’t they stay to protect him? Caleb struggled with the vivid images he saw.
Caleb is our boy with questions. I can’t tell you how many times during any given day, I hear our third born son say, “Mom? May I ask you a question?”
Caleb desires understanding and knowledge. But more than that, our little man is a compassionate and caring Christ follower. He wanted to know why Jesus’ friends chose to escape the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus Christ did not. Caleb would have remained.
I found an answer for Caleb in the words of Jesus Christ, himself, just days before this day of betrayal and surrender:
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. New International Version, John 12: 23-29
Even before the hour of betrayal, the hour of sentencing, the hour of torture, the hour of crucifixion, Jesus Christ had surrendered Himself to the will of His Father in love, reverence, and humility.
Why didn’t Jesus run away?
He chose to offer his life for all of mankind in order that the Name of His Father would be honored and glorified.
Jesus Christ had embraced His calling on earth.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death –
even death on a cross. New International Version, Philippians 2:6
He had come to save Caleb, his brothers, his parents, and anyone else who would call upon His Name as Savior and Lord and seek repentance and the forgiveness of sins.
But, why had his followers chosen to disappear into the darkness of night during that scandalous hour of betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Faced with the gruesome truth that their leader was about to be captured, tortured and eventually killed, these followers were not yet ready to follow Jesus Christ to their death. Their fears at this crucial hour overpowered their humility, their trust, their dependence and yes, even their faith that Jesus was the Son of God and their Savior.
Caleb wanted to know why Christ surrendered to his enemies while his followers ran away in fear. As Caleb’s mom, I need to answer his questions honestly and forthrightly. Christ followers across the world are facing these questions and others of us, like Caleb and me, will confront these questions at some point – perhaps sooner than we even think.
Friends, I believe a decisive hour of faith is at hand for us as well as our children.
Will we surrender in trust, love and humility as our Savior, Jesus Christ – choosing to identify ourselves with the Cross of Christ and the Power of His Resurrection?
Or will we flee into the darkness and choose fear and denial to save our finite lives?
Will we live and die by our faith in Christ – becoming obedient to even death?
How will we answer?
The followers of Jesus failed to come to the defense of their Saviour in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet, after they witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, their bold proclamations of faith could not be stopped!
And so, Caleb, for this reason, we too, need to be ready to declare our faith and trust in Christ for His honor and glory and for the praise and adoration of our God and Father. Jesus Christ did not run away. Instead, He submitted himself to the will of His Father in order to save us from our sins and pave the way for eternal life.
Caleb’s questions are important.
John and I will continue to respond to Caleb’s inquiries as best we can.
It is our aim to prepare our children to answer for their faith and proclaim the glory of God in good times and in bad – therefore, for this reason, will you?