Jesus' response, again

Jesus was very aware of our human vulnerability to attack. He experienced it himself and he warned his disciples about it. Jesus sent them out with the words, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves…” (Mt 10.16) And later there were even more dire warnings such as, “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake.” (Lk 21.16-17) Yet this vulnerability did not drive Jesus into self-defense or fighting against those who did evil against him.

Instead, he responded to our need for protection just like he did to our need for provision—with faith. Not by building up his own strength or security, but by depending on God for protection. And teaching his disciples to do so as well. After his warnings, Jesus assured them, “But not a hair of your head will perish.” (Lk 21.18)

How could this be? Because all things are in God’s hands, therefore we can trust him to protect (or preserve) us in any situation:

“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul… Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Mt 10.28-31)
And Jesus demonstrated this trust in his own life. We see it especially at the moment of his arrest, when he does not resist but says, “Should I not drink the cup that my Father has given me?” Jesus was not driven by fear of injury or loss, did not spend his effort trying to protect himself (or his money paying others to do so). Instead, he embraced his vulnerability as an opportunity for faith, an opportunity to depend more completely on God.

Such faith is much more important than even the protection of our bodies and possessions. When we open ourselves to God in our need and vulnerability God comes to us, with provision and protection but more importantly with his presence. Which is love. This is the answer to the problem of separation from God, and our vulnerability provides the opportunity to address this deeper problem.

To those who depended on God for justice, for protection, instead of fighting for themselves or insisting on their own rights, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Mt 5.5) Like children calmly trusting in the care of their father, these meek ones inherit all that is God’s.