And what of us in the West? Are we showing that we too are prepared to follow Jesus and his authority at any cost? When an imperceptible bow would have saved Daniel’s three friends, they defied King Nebuchadnezzar’s idolatry at the threat of being burned alive. When simply closing a window and drawing his curtains could have saved Daniel himself, he chose to risk the lions rather than mute his allegiance to God. When a mere whiff of incense would have saved their lives, early Christians refused to acknowledge Caesar as lord rather than Jesus and were made human torches or the evening meal for wild animals. When it seemed quixotic to take on the emperor, the empress and all the empire, Athanasius took his stand for truth contra mundum (against the world) and was exiled five times for his faithfulness. When he was told he was arrogant or out of his mind to follow his conscience and defy the consensus of tradition, Martin Luther stood firm in the face of the fiery stake that had cremated Jan Hus before him. When his closest friends urged him to save himself for the important work of his future scholarship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to reenter Hitler’s lair and ignore the looming specter of the gallows.
Bowing to the passions of modern society’s claims of authority is an easy option, “Be quiet and keep your head down.”
Yet for the genuine follower of Jesus Christ such a course is never an option. As a result the accusations of being both “arrogant” and “out of our minds” will come.
What about you?