The following verse arrested my attention in the book of John about Jesus’ course of action after he pronounced some deep spiritual truths that made certain members of his audience want to kill him.
“…they sought again to seize him, but he escaped out of their hand” John 10:39, NKJV.
Jesus was a very good man, and was intent only on helping and healing people. But his teachings were often misunderstood and taken in the wrong way. His preaching could stir up anger and hostility toward him, and create enemies that wanted to capture and kill him.
Considering how spiritually powerful and capable Jesus was, his choice to leave, or, “escape out of their hand” was fascinating to me.
Why did he leave? Why didn’t he stay and pounce all over those who opposed him, put them in their right place, so to speak?
As I pondered, I found his course of action instructive.
Jesus was no fool. Even though he could raise the dead, walk on water, and shut down demons with a few words, he also knew when it was time to stay and time to leave according to what was brewing in the mental atmosphere around him.
When the carnal mind turned up the heat and wanted to destroy him, he didn’t stay in the fire if it wasn’t in his best interest. He exited. He lived on his own terms, not according to what his enemies wanted.
Eventually, he did allow his capture with the impending crucifixion, but that was with his consent. He allowed that experience to occur when he was ready to prove a point, which was done for all time to come in his resurrection.
But his decision to nimbly leave before his enemies could capture him, which he repeated several times during his roving ministry, is a rule we all can learn from.
In military warfare, one side plots and plans with all their might to stay out of enemy hands. That’s clear and necessary for survival and victory. The same rule applies to any relationship we have with those who would oppose us.
In personal relationships, with family, neighbors and business acquaintances, if tension ever builds, tempers flare, false accusations fly, misunderstanding dominates, or deceit and dishonesty rear their ugly heads, employing Jesus’ “exit strategy,” may be a wise course of action. And his exit strategy was one of not getting caught up into the state of mind of his enemy, such as getting angry and vengeful in return, or self-righteous about his position. He stated his truth and let it stand without feeling a personal need to constantly defend it.
As we keep our attitude free of arrogant ego, self-righteousness, and bloated pride, we can be wiser than our enemies too. Humility and meekness keep thought tuned to God’s wise direction and enable us to know what course of action to pursue that preserves the good and keeps us out of harm’s way.
We can be like Jesus, when it’s appropriate. We can state our case and then leave implementation of its cause to God’s timely and wise dispensation of events. We can avoid stepping into any enemy trap of battling egos in the meantime.
The Mind of Christ is humble, meek, discerning, wise, and always one step ahead of evil. With the Mind of Christ, we can stay one step ahead of evil too and escape capture.