He washed his hands of the whole affair. He could have listened to his conscience that told him that this Jesus was an innocent man. He could have listened to his wife who told him that she had a dream about this Jesus. But Pilate did not have the necessary courage it takes to ... be a Christian. He washed his hands of the whole affair and will forever be remembered as the coward who let the Lord of Life be crucified.
The courage to be a Christian. Judas didn't have it either. There was great financial gain for him to give up Christ. There was a position of esteem among the Jewish leaders there for his taking. To stay with Christ would mean to join him in suffering. He didn't have the courage to ... be a Christian.
Joseph of Arimethea was a wealthy man and a member of the ruling Jewish body, the Sanhedrin. He was willing to give up his status in the community, he gave up his secrecy in following Christ, he gave up his burial place for the Lord, he refused to ... give up Christ.
Peter denied Christ three times. But he didn’t give up. He picked himself up from his failure and accepted all that the following of our Lord demanded. His life story has it that when Peter himself was about to be crucified he protested that he wasn’t worthy to die the same way as the Lord and was then crucified upside down. It took a lifetime for this Apostle to muster up the courage he needed, but he was able to ... follow Christ.
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We live in a world where many of our leaders to not have the courage to be truthful. We live in a world where a higher value is placed on economic gain than on the courage to vote according to convictions. We live in a world where many have lost the courage that is necessary to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It takes tremendous courage to ... be the only people in the neighborhood who treasure a moral lifestyle. It takes tremendous courage to ... be the only parents who are determined to protect their children from that which could destroy them even though other parents let their kids go to that movie, play that game, and close their eyes to their experiments that are unhealthy. It takes tremendous courage to ... be the only one at work who isn’t a flirt, who doesn’t degrade his or her spouse with the other guys or gals, who doesn’t stab co-workers in the back in order to advance, who is willing to take only what an honest days work provides. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to ... refuse to get involved in a relationship that is immoral, even though friends and neighbors say it is OK. It takes courage to ... challenge yourself, your spouse and your children to make the effort necessary to worship God regular with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are not being called today to accept physical death for the Lord, as numerous martyrs and the saints through have done. But we are being called to give witness to our Savior. Remember, the word “martyr” means witness. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to ... follow Christ.
(from Ukrainian Orthodox Word, March-April 2011)