Withstand: “to remain undamaged or unaffected by; to deal with (something, such as an attack or criticism) successfully.”
Do you ever read the Gospels in complete amazement, wondering why Jesus even bothered? It doesn’t fit our understanding of the way life should work; you do something nice for people and they, in turn, appreciate the kindness. But this was certainly not the case; with all His compassionate healings and merciful miracles, there was definitely a serious absence of gratitude, and even worse, rising suspicion.
Jesus simply did not conform to their idea of what Messiah would be, or any servant of God for that matter. And as pride escalated and insults, innuendos, accusations and charges were hurled, He Withstood. The conspiracy began and He chose to remain unaffected in His purpose, resolved to obey the will of His Father.
Consider Him Who Withstood
- He Withstood, though the religious leaders attempted to trap Him.
- He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” (3:1-3).
- He Withstood, though His accusers were merciless and cowardly.
- And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent, (3:4).
- He Withstood, though He was angered and grieved.
- After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored, (3:5).
- He Withstood, though they conspired to destroy Him.
- The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him, (3:6).
- He Withstood, though His own family was convinced He was out of His mind.
- And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses,” (3:20-21).
- He Withstood though they accused Him of demonic possession.
- The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons,” (3:22).
How do we respond to Him Who Withstood?
I know the Biblical answers as to why, why He did it, why He Withstood. But I still can’t comprehend it. I still wonder why He didn’t choose some other way, some way less humiliating, less degrading. He came as a man and subjected Himself to the worst treatment, even before the cross. When I read the accounts, I wonder who I would be in the story, and I shudder as I see myself, puffed up with pride, convinced I know a better way.
Today may we bow in humble worship and learn the better way from Him Who Withstood. With obedience to His Father and our redemption as His motivation, He Withstood rejection and ridicule at the hands of sinful men, unbearable sorrow and the excruciating suffering of the cross. As we consider and fix our eyes on Him Who Withstood so much for us, let us be resolved to withstand injustices, trials and the sufferings of this life.
Life has more than its fair share of sorrows and difficulties, but we will never be called to withstand all our Savior Withstood, and it is momentary when compared to eternity. Let us live by faith, with our hearts set on Jesus, unaffected in our purpose to obey and bring Him glory as we look beyond this life, to our glorious and eternal destination, to be with Him Who Withstood forever.
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; (Hebrews 12:2-3).
…knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus… 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:14-17).