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Gyula Simonyi
Do Not Fear, But Trust!
(The Four Gospels about Fear.)
(Székesfehérvár, 1979-1993)
1. Introduction
1.1. Scandalization of the Disciples
1.2. The Danger of Scandalization
1.3. Our Scandalization
2. Fear Takes You to Sin
3. The Roots of Fear's Cure
3.1. Trust
3.2. Fear of God
3.3. Wrong Shock of God
3.4. Fear of the Trouble
4. The Positive Role of Fear. The Sense of Awareness
4.1. Fear Is Warning
4.2. The Sinner's Fear of Worldly Powers
4.3. Escaping
4.4. Pure Cleverness
4.5. Awareness in the Interests of Calling
4.6. Discipline of Secret
4.7. Responsibility of the Master and the Disciple for Each Other
4.8. Awareness in the Interests of Our Eternal Life
4.9. The Two Types of Awareness Are Linked Together
5. Jesus Frees Us from Fear
5.1. He Tells Us in Advance What We Can Expect
5.2. The Cross: Being Hated and Defenceless
5.3. "I Prove Its Deeds Are Wicked, Therefore the World Hates Me"
5.4. "As We, Too, Remit Our Owers' Debts"
5.5. Peaceful Violent Ones and Unpeaceful Nonviolent Ones
5.6. The Sense of Being Persecuted
5.7. Real Freedom
5.8. Power of God
5.9. Courage in Being Persecuted and in Peace
5.10. Courage in the Panics of Mankind
6. Thankfulness for Happiness
Questions for Self-exercise or Teaching

1. Introduction
1.1. Scandalization of the Disciples
Matt 26,30: "After psalms had been sung they all left for the Mount of Olives."

Up to now everything is all right. As far as it is only singing together and religious celebrations, there is nothing troublesome. However, what Jesus wants to reveal is who he can count on when one has to love sacrificially.
Matt 26,31-36: Then Jesus said to them, "You will all lose faith in me this night..." At this, Peter said, "Though all lose faith in you, I will never lose faith." Jesus answered him, "I tell you solemnly, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times.' Peter said to him: 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the disciples also said the same."

Being scandalized means something like this: "I have been very much disappointed with you! I thought of you something completely different! You have brought something completely different from what I expected from you! What you brought I refuse, that is nonsense, is horrifying, I do not want it, and I do not want you either."
This happens concretely when Peter takes the sword but Jesus capitulates, gets the arms put away: "Put it back into its place!" In this moment everything brakes down within the disciples and those who were promising previously now all leave him and escape. They were not afraid of danger, risk and fight, they would not have hesitated even to die in the war of the Messiah, but now they are scandalized. They were young people prepared for a national and religious war, and even after their long time spent with Jesus nonviolence was a stumbling-block for them. When Jesus made them put the swords down, they experienced that Jesus had betrayed his own cause, their common historical cause, had left them in the lurch, had turned out to be a traitor. No heroism makes sense anymore; at all, nothing makes sense anymore.
1.2. The Danger of Scandalization
We are scandalized when we do not understand God's thoughts; when we do not understand that greatest principle of the world that is much more basically the point of the Creator's idea than the generalized formula of Einstein. This principle was many times emphasized by Jesus: Matt 10,39; 16,25; Mk 8,35; Lk 9,24; 16,33; John 12,25: "Who wants to save his life in this world will lose it. But who wants to lose his life for my sake and for the Gospel's will save it for eternal life."
As far as we do not understand this, only the circumstances have to be suitable for us to be scandalized and have thoughts like these: "How can God allow this? Can he not save me?" or "The God of love will not expect something like this! This is unnecessary exaggeration, hotheadedness..." or "One could not bear this!" - and our trust brakes and we leave him and escape as we can by stopping loving.
1.3. Our Scandalization
Previously we left a part out of the story when Jesus cites the Old Testament, a kind of justifying that what happens in the night of Holy Thursday (losing trust and escaping) is surely to come. Therefore it holds true of us as well:

Matt 26,31: "For the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered."

Look around! If now submachine-gunmen appeared and surrounded you, detectives in civilian clothes stepped forward from our group and arrested and took away your leaders ... what would remain of the life of the community? Would you stay together and keep going? Or would you rather steer clear of the others as dangerous people?
Of course this question is only rhetorical, because the answer is written. Jesus does not even talk about it as a question, in fact, he foretells for sure that after He is caught, his disciples will scatter. "Peter, I tell you solemnly, I will be taken into prison, and when I get free, you will not want to recognize me, you will not sit to the same table with me to talk and eat, you will not come to the community, because you will consider the relation with me dangerous." Although the disciples were brave men who would not have feared for their lives in the Israeli war of independence and Jesus himself was their master for three years. It holds true of us much rather: if something is wrong, although everyone knows we did not do anything evil, the whole group scatters. It scatters so much that even after ten or twenty years they will forbid their growing children tooth and nail and fear to take Christianity seriously.

S I L E N C E !
(If none of the participants of the all-night vigil interrupts, then:

But if we stop anyway when we have to face with the hard reality of life, would it not be better to stop now, when we can quit this evangelical life without losing too much??)

S I L E N C E ! Maybe discussion afterwards.

Or is there any difference? Could it be that we are better than the disciples, whom Jesus had called his friends one or two hours before all that happened? What does it mean that we already live after the resurrection and the Pentecost? What does it mean if you or I have already understood resurrection and experienced Pentecost in our personal lives? Have we experienced and understood it already? How much are we still threatened by the danger of stumbling and scattering?
This night, through keeping awake with Jesus we want to prepare and strengthen for the love that undertakes the consequence of Jesus' fate; for the love that remains in spite of these four necessarily coming consequences: poverty, despisedness, defencelessness and persecutedness. We give ourselves to His hand and listen to Him, Who is with us in the Holy Scripture, in the community, in the silence, in prayer, in needy people, in the historical example of His people and in the bread.
2. Fear Takes You to Sin
Matthew 13:20-21: "The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word... But he has no root in him... let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once."

Fear is like rocks in the soil: power that hides headstrongly in the depth of our personality. It is not sin, for we do not want it, in fact, we would rather like to be free from its rule, but its consequences are often sins.
"Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife!", the angel told Joseph in his dream (Matt 1:20). "Do not be afraid to do what is good! Do not hesitate to defend somebody from being and outcast!", this is the Gospel's first message about fear.
Fear can chase love out of our heart, in fact, it can cause great wickedness and hatred within us: "Do not be alarmed!... Many will fall away; men will betray one another and hate one another. in most men will grow cold..." (Matt 24:6, 10, 12) Silone writes in his play titled "The adventures of a God-loving Christian": "Many crimes have been committed on the pretext of fear from imprisonment!"
Worry and fear retract Christians into the lifestyle of pagans: "... I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. ... It is the pagans of this world who set their hearts on all these things. ... There is no need to be afraid, little flock...!" (L 12:22, 30, 32)
God's power cannot manifest in our lives if we cannot entrust ourselves to Him, if we get frightened like Peter when he stepped on the water. (Matt 14:30)
We will not be good workers of the Kingdom of God, but the Lord will call us lazy servants and throw us out into the dark if we hide our talents out of fear (L 19:21, Matt 25:25).
Our apostolic calling, prophetical standing out also become impossible if we are afraid. When He sends us out, emphasizes over and over: "Do not be afraid... For everything that is now covered will be uncovered... What I say to you... tell in the daylight... proclaim from the housetops... Do not be afraid... There is no need to be afraid... The one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven." (Matt 10:26-28, 31, 33; Mk 8:38)
There are people who are held back from learning the truth by fear: When Jesus foretells his suffering the second time the disciples "did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him". (Mk 9:32, Luke 9:45) One could say that they were afraid of the slam Peter had received for his reproach after the first prophecy of the passion (Mark 8:31-33), but Jesus probably was not so hot-tempered that he got angry by a simple question. Peter did not ask, instead he reproached Jesus. The reason why the disciples did not dare to ask him was their fear of understanding that Jesus really did not want self-defence.
Joseph of Arimatee needed courage to go to Pilate to ask for Jesus' corpse (Mark 15:43). He could subdue his fear of the Jews because of that he had been only a secret follower of Jesus (J 19:38). But the people of Jerusalem could not do the same: " one spoke about him openly, for fear of the Jews." (J 7:13) The parents of the blind man did not dare to witness for Jesus' miracle "out of fear of the Jews". (John 9:22) "...There were many who did believe in him, even among the leading men, but they did not admit it, through fear of the Pharisees and fear of being expelled from the synagogue: they put honor from men before the honor that comes from God." (John 12:42-3) (Today the situation is the same. Many people's Christianity withers away because of fearing people's mocking, or the boss' comments. Many are paralyzed by being afraid to lose their jobs or even only their positions. And Å thank God Å we know also those who have been persevere through being troubled a lot, because they feared losing God's friendship most.) After Jesus' death "the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews." (John 20,19) But at least they did not scatter.
The women who were told by the angel in the empty tomb on Easter morning, "There is no need for alarm. ... but you must go and tell his disciples..." (Mark 16:6-8) ran away because they were frightened, and they said nothing to a soul.
When Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection "they still could not believe it" (Luke 24:41), maybe they were afraid a new and even greater disappointment that Jesus' resurrection turns out to be an illusion.
3. The Roots of Fear's Cure
3.1. Trust
Mark 4:40: "Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?"

John 14:1: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me."

We could see how many small and big sins and omissions are caused by fear. We hear Jesus encouraging us over and over: Do not be afraid! Let us look up in the Gospel, what cures fear.
It can be proved many times that trust frees us from fear. "Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?" (Matt 8:26) "You faithless!", Jesus reproves Peter when he gets scared as walking on the water. "Do not be afraid; only have faith", Jesus encourages Jairus.
3.2. Fear of God
Matt 10:28: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell."

It is unquestionable that Jesus uses a greater, other kind of fear to cure our fear. But this is not the same as the fear of God. Let us see first what we know about the fear of God.
The continuation of the text that introduces the point 3.1. is extremely strange: "Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith? Å They were filled with awe." (Mark 4:40-41) How? Are the disciples even more scared after Jesus' encouragement?
This fear is something completely different: an awe which fills man in the perceptible presence of the mighty God. "...and (they) said to one another, 'Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.'" (Mark 4:41) This "fear of God" and trust walk with hand in hand and cure fear. This also can be proved many times.
The consequence of God's manifestations among men is fear of Him together with faith or if that does not exist yet, with amazement: cf. the stories of the miraculous catch (Luke 5:9), the calming of the storm (Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25), the transfiguration (Matt 17:6, Mark 9:6, Luke 9:34), cure of the woman with a hemorrhage (Mark 5:33, Luke 8:47), cure of a paralytic (Matt 9:8), the circumstances of Jesus' death (Matt 27:54), and his resurrection (Matt 28:4, Luke 24:5,36), the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:65), awakening of the young man of Nain (Luke 7:16) and other cures (e.g. Luke 5:26).
3.3. Wrong Shock of God
Luke 8:37: They were "in a state of panic and asked Jesus to leave them".

It happens many times that instead of right fear of God superstitious shock of God arises in people. Therefore it is always followed by encouragement from the angels come, or Jesus: "Do not be afraid!" (Matt 14:27, 17:7, Mk 6:49, 16:5, Luke 1:13, 2:10, 5:10, John 6:20)
The importance of the difference between fear and shock of God is shown when those women who, in spite of their being encouraged by the angel, are afraid and sabotage the task of spreading the news entrusted to them (Mark 16,8); people of the Gerasene territory, whose shock was not reduced by Jesus, asked Him out of fear to leave them (Luke 8:36); and the disciples going to Emmaus when they heard the story of the empty tomb they got only scared (Luke 24:22) as from a mysterious, magic occurrence.
In the same time these challenges (Do not be afraid!) do not aim at cancelling the right fear of God, in fact, it is "the unscrupulous judge" who "had no fear of God" (Luke 18:3) and the criminal who abused him (Luke 5:21); this was assumed about Jesus when he was accused of blaspheming (Luke 5:21); it characterizes people who do not care about God in Noah's days as well as in Jesus' days (Matt 24:38). "We know that God... does listen to men who are devout and do his will." (John 9:31; cf. Luke 1:50)
3.4. Fear of the Trouble
Now let us return to the fear that cures fear. The equivalent of the text introducing the point 3.2. in the gospel of Luke says:

Luke 12:4-5: "To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

Besides the shock of God (which comes from a distorted image of God or not understanding God) and the fear of God (knowing His being a Power and Lord above all, awe, amazement, adoreship, determined following Him) we can point out a third type of, a transcendent fear, that we could call the fear of the Trouble.
We are afraid of material difficulties, pain, wickedness of people and so on. Concluding, we are afraid of many small and big troubles. Jesus challenges us to fear the only real greatest trouble.
Here are some examples for how the fear of the Trouble directly works in our lives.
When we shrink from conversion, we suddenly remember the victims of Pilate's mingle and Jesus' words: "... but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did." (Luke 13:3-5)
When our material safety worries us and we are afraid to live out our Christianity because of our job, or when we live lazily and negligently, Jesus warns us: "Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap." (Luke 21:34-35) This is how a greater trouble frees us from the cares of life "to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man."
This is the reason why the dishonest steward deserves the praise and the attribute 'astute' from his master (Luke 16,8) because he is not shortsightedly worries about himself but fears what happens to him when he has to "draw up an account" (Luke 16:8). This is how the fear of the "account" frees us from care of worldly living, and this is the way one learns the right use of the "false Mammon" to win friends. (Luke 16,9)
As a last example here is the witness cited above already: if someone is afraid of prophetical standing-up, in his even greater fear of that the Lord will disown him in the presence of the Father in heaven (Matt 10:33) he struggles his cowardice over and not looking for manly safety but putting his trust in the Lord he can follow Jesus' command: "Do not be afraid... what I say... tell in the daylight... proclaim from the housetops." (Matt 10:26-27)
4. The Positive Role of Fear. The Sense of Awareness
4.1. Fear Is Warning
Matt 2:22: "But when he (Joseph) learned that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee."

Joseph did not escape back to Egypt, in fact, he fulfilled the angel's commandment ("...go back to the land of Israel...! So Joseph ... went back to the land of Israel.") But in choosing a particular part on the land of Israel where they were to settle down, he was led by awareness as well. This text is one of those very few places in the gospel where fear has a positive role. Since fear is a sign, the sign of danger, as pain is the sign of some injury or illness of the body. This role of pain is important in curing. Similarly, fear which does not control man, only indicates danger, may be an important part of awareness. Let us examine, where awareness has a place in a Christian man's life.
4.2. The Sinner's Fear of Worldly Powers
Luke 12:58-59: "... when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny." (Matt 5:25-26)

It can happen also to a Christian that he offend sinfully against worldly laws (like taking, beating...). Jesus uses also the fear of prison to prompt us to conciliate those who we did wrong to. Naturally, this we should not do just out of fear, but out of conscience.
The gospel, on the other hand, shows that fear of worldly powers does not hold the great sinners back from sin. Herod was afraid of people, therefore he did not get John the Baptist executed (Matt 14:5), but later he did. The Jewish religious leaders also kept postponing Jesus' arrest because they were afraid of people (Matt 21:26,46; Mark 11:19,32; 12:12; Luke 20:19; 22:2), but at last their fear of the Romans was even greater (John 11:48) and so they did commit the evil deed. They did not dare to keep up the argument with Jesus (Luke 20:40) but only because they were beaten intellectually; but this fear could not change their inner stubbornness. Pilate also got scared when he hears that Jesus declares himself the Son of God (John 19:8) but this shock does not keep him back from announcing the unfair sentence of death, because he fears the Caesar even more (John 19:13). The soldiers also are afraid, though this makes them hesitate only for a moment to put their hands on Jesus (John 16:4-8).
Summarizing, fear of worldly power can take us to positive direction as well, but even in such case it turns out to be weak compared with fear that takes one to the negative direction. This positive fear cannot have much rule beside conscience. It is by no means right that only this kind of fear brings solution even for conflicts between Christians: Paul finds it scandalous that the Christians go to worldly court with their hostilities instead of solving them within the community or just putting up with the damage. (1 Cor 6:1,8)
In the same way, it is not right if we avoid being involved wrong (meant in a sense of violence and power) politics just out of fear, not out of our conscience. For fear takes away our freedom for prophetical standing out, for "obedience to God ... before obedience to men" in required situations (Acts 5:29).
Jesus did not fear power. When he was warned that Herod means to kill him, he replied sharply: "You may go and give that fox this message:... I... on the third day attain my end." (Luke 13:31-33) He did not say Luke 20:25 out of fear: "...give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar Å and to God what belongs to God." This famous sentence has often been abused to justify servility towards power. However, on the contrary, it is the perfect example of both directions of nonviolence, of apoliticalism that comes not from fear: while it turns away from revolutionary violence (refusing tax, war of independence), it refuses to serve state violence as well (the coins wear Caesar's portrait, people wear God's portrait: give the money back to the state, but you cannot give yourself to the servitude of the state, only to God).
4.3. Escaping
Matt 10:22: "If they persecute you in one town, take refugee in the next."

We always will have place where to escape (cf. Matt 10:23). Jesus challenges to escape for the period when Jerusalem is being besieged (Luke 21:21) although (also) that time escaping was considered cowardice, in fact, treason. Sheep also run away from a stranger. (John 10:5)
This escape, however, must not be mistaken for scattering. The wolf comes to scatter the sheep (John 10:12). Jesus' aim is, on the contrary, to gather us into a community based on love (Luke 11:23). The worst type of cowardice - which frustrates this aim - is that fears even being a member of a community. We should not scatter, we have to hold together in escaping and awareness as well, if necessary. One of the main virtues of pure cleverness is collaboration.
The Early Christians scattered in the empire through escape from persecutions, but wherever they got, they held together. They did not get scared during the escape, instead, by their brave witness it was the scattering through which Christianity spread all over the empire, because wherever they got they courageously built the community further.
4.4. Pure Cleverness
Matt 10:16: " cunning as serpents and yet as unmixed (pure) as doves."

This is necessary because Jesus sends us out like sheep among wolves (10:16). What do this cunning and unmixedness mean?
In another parable the conscientious steward is which gives the servants their food in proper time, and does not beat them. (Matt 24:49; Luke 12:45)
Jesus talks about himself like this: "... the prince of this world is on his way. But nothing within me belongs to him." (John 14:30)
Accordingly in cunning and ambitiousness we have to be as intensive as Satan, but the content of our cunning may do nothing with Satan's attitude. Jesus challenges us the opposite of that we try to live among wolves by yelling harmoniously with them, dimming and hiding the manifestations of our Christian being and seemingly put on partly Satanic behavior. In contrast to this, unmixed cleverness means to live out our calling completely clearly and with full intensivity.
4.5. Awareness in the Interests of Calling
Matt 10:17: "Beware of men."

Also Jesus himself does the same: "During his stay in Jerusalem for the Passover many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he gave, but Jesus knew them all and did not trust himself to them; he never needed evidence about any man; he could tell what a man had in him." (John 2:23)
"From that day they (the Jewish leaders) were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples." (John 11:53-54)
When he was teaching in the Temple and the situation quite a few times went as far as to arrest or stoning, he hid himself. (John 8:59; Matt 10:31-39; 12:36) He goes up to the festival not publicly but in secret, and teaches in the Temple openly only after the festival is half over, because he knows "the Jews were on the lookout for him". (John 7:10,14,25)
However, in His example we can see well the right proportion of "beware" and "do not be afraid": as he emphasizes courage way over awareness, also in practice he is careful only when his sentence to death is ready, when the soldiers are on their way to arrest him, when the leaders are on the lookout for him. Not that he is not ready for the greatest love which lays down even its life (John 15:13), but he is careful, because he still needs time to fulfil his task (cf. John 7:8).
When his duties call Him, the disciples lament in vain: "Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you; are you going back again?" (John 11:8) His audience is also amazed: "Isn't this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely..." (John 7:25-26) Jesus is characterized by incredible courage.
4.6. Discipline of Secret
John 7:8-10: "'I am not going to this festival' ... However, ...he went up as well."

A typical manifestation of awareness in Jesus' life is discipline of secret. Firstly, he keeps Å and (usually unsuccessfully) tries to make people keep Å his deeds and places of residence in secret (e.g. Matt 12:16; Mark 1:34-44; 5:43; 7:24; 9:9 etc.), because rumours, for instance, may prevent him in his mission (cf. Mark 1:45). (On the other hand his teaching he does not keep and get kept in secret, cf. John 18:20.) Secondly, even when he is questioned he refuses the answer if this is what awareness requires: "Nor will I tell you..." (Luke 20:6) In fact, thirdly, he does not hesitate to answer falsely in the interests of his mission: "'Go up to the festival yourselves: I am not going to this festival, because for me the time is not ripe yet.' Having said that, he stayed behind in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself." (John 7:8-10)
In Jesus' usage lie is something that is harmful! Just let us think of the false witnesses who are not false because they do not speak the truth Å for they do (Matt 26:60-61; Mark 14:57 and further) Å but because they speak wicked, against love, without fruits (Matt 12:36). Accordingly, when awareness in the interests of mission requires so, if it would be harmful, we do not speak the truth.
4.7. Responsibility of the Master and the Disciple for Each Other
John 17:15: "I am ...asking you protect them from the evil one."

It is not himself who the master, the Shepherd worries about, but those who are relied on him. Jesus also protects those of His: "If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go." (John 18:8) But this seems to be only temporary, for about the coming persecutions He informs them with perfect calm (e.g. Luke 15:18-21) and his words about Peter's torture the apostles accept already as a forecast of "the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God" (John 21:18-19).
Consequently it is evident that Jesus did not mean a protection from persecutions, but from losing the way of God's Kingdom when He says: "Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us. While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name, I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost." (John 17:11-12)
Therefore the shepherd's task is, above all, to keep those who are relied to him in love's undestroyable life, for this is why we can pray following Jesus: "I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one. ... Consecrate them in the truth ... As you sent me into the world (Å to love, not fearing even for my biological life, and to transplant the Kingdom on the Earth Å), I have sent them into the world (Å to be ready even to lose their biological lives for the sake of the Gospel, and thus to preserve their undestroyable and happy life in love). (John 17:15 and 17-18)
On the other hand, a shepherd has to protect the worldly lives of those who are given to him as well in the spirit of the right awareness. Jesus carried also this out: it was always he, who faced the outer enemies, the disciples always could find safety behind him. (Typical examples are the criticisms of the pharisees in the cases of eating with sinners and picking corn, see Mark 2:16-17 and 2:24-25). He fulfilled this task well and prepared his disciples for persecution only when they have to stand on their own feet: before the trial run (Matt 10) and when his suffering was nearby (e.g. John 15:18). He also emphasizes this: "I did not tell you this from the outset, because I was with you." (John 16:4)
This task comes from the nature of persecution, for it is always the leaders, the most committed, the most effective who are persecuted most. The more you advance in love and commitment for the Kingdom of God the more persecution is directed against you. Accordingly, the shepherd does not need to worry much for his those who belong to him: he can expect the most suffering, the others smaller sanctions according to their smaller service (namely, on the whole, according to the level of their advanced state).
(There was an exception from this regularity: the persecution carried out under Severest in 202, when not the actual Christians, but those who were going to be Christians, the novitiates were persecuted. These people, who were not even baptized yet, seemed to accept God's power incredibly as they heroically and firmly undertook the martyrdom for Christ, whom they had hardly got to know.)
However, the regularity of persecution brings another heavy responsibility in the other way around: the disciples' responsibility for their master. For their carelessness, laziness of their secrecy, occasional worldly faults, engagement in politics opposingly with Jesus bring danger not only to them, but rather to their masters and leaders.
4.8. Awareness in the Interests of Our Eternal Life
Luke 12:15: "Watch and be on your guard against love of material possessions."
Jesus did not use the challenge "be on your guard" only once. At the other places, however, this has a completely different meaning. It is the yeast (teaching, effect) of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:6), namely hypocrisy (Luke 12:1) that we have to be on our guard against; hypocrisy here means the cowardly hushing up of witness, hiding the light under a bushel (see the next verses). We have to be on our guard against the religious leaders who wear fine clothes, take the places of honor, live on the donations of the poor (Mark 12:40, Luke 20:45). Besides, we have to be on our guard so that we do not love material possessions, "for a man's life is not made secure by what he owns" (Luke 12:15).
We can see that in Jesus' usage awareness means exactly the opposite of what it means in our manly way of thinking. For our way to be aware is to adapt ourselves to Herod and to the ideologists and the ideologies of power, to make ourselves secure by social greatness, position and possessions, and to hold our tongue as our main awareness. To see the huge difference and contrast between this awareness and the awareness from hypocrisy, which is commanded by Jesus, let us read Luke's gospel continuously from 11:37 to 12:12. Jesus shows an example and gives a theoretical support to the wisdom which opposes to the saying "least said, soonest mended".
He teaches the truth about God's will for man, without worrying about what people think, because he pays no attention to a man's status (Matt 22:16). We must be on our guard so that we do not teach God's will for man falsely out of awareness! We must be on our guard so that we do not make an anti-aircraft black-out in the "city built on a hilltop" (Matt 5:14).
4.9. The Two Types of Awareness Are Linked Together
Matt 26:53: "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defense?"

The root of these two opposite kinds of awareness is clearly shown at the parallel equivalent place of "Beware of men" (Matt 10:17) in Mark's gospel: "Be on your guard" (Mark 13:9). Both challenges continue likewise: "...they will hand you over to Sanhedrins; you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake ... You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matt 10:17-18 and 22; Mark 13:9 and 13)
It is not that we have to be on our guard, lest we are brought to trial, or excommunicated from the religion in power; but because we will be brought to trial and examined by worldly and church council. We have to be on our guard so that we stand firm to the end. Our manly awareness means to avoid everything that endangers our worldly life and career. Jesus' awareness means for us to avoid everything that is dangerous for our salvation, our undestroyable (but by our sins endangered) life in love.
Jesus was on his guard in such a way that he did not ask for the twelve legions of angels, lest he goes off the way of nonviolent love (Matt 26:53).
Manly awareness can exist in our life only as far as we do not need to mix Satanic attitudes in it.
When it was consistent with love, Jesus took care of his worldly life as well, harmlessly, without any violence he slipped out of their hands or captivated them by his words (e.g. Luke 4:30; John 7:30, 43, 46) and this power of harmlessness protected him for a moment even when he handled his life over already (John 16:4-8).
5. Jesus Frees Us from Fear
5.1. He tells us in advance what we can expect
John 16:1: "I have told you all this so that your faith may not be shaken."

After we finished figuring out the little positive role of fear in our lives, let us return to the point of how Jesus frees us from fear. As in every other area, teaching, making the truth known, and making people realize things play a key role.
"I have told you all this so that your faith may not be shaken. ... But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you." (John 16:1 and 4) For defencelessness that comes from nonviolence (especially in the continuous danger of persecution due to prophetical standing-up) is the greatest stumbling-block in Jesus' teaching: the Baptist also gets tempted in the prison to lose his trust and to doubt that Jesus is the one who is to come Å then why does He not set him free? (Matt 11:6; Luke 7:23); being harassed and persecuted because of the Word causes the swerve of those "who receive the seed on patches of rock" (Matt 13:21; Mark 4:17); the trust of the brave disciples, who were earlier faithful and repeating promises is shaken when Jesus says no to self-defence (Matt 26:31; Mark 14:27); in the last times "you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. And then many will fall away ..." (Matt 24:9-10).
Thus the basic of avoiding of faith's being shaken is that we are fully aware of our fate and it's sense, we make ourselves realize what Jesus has taught about it. Let us see.
5.2. The Cross: Being Hated and Defenceless
Luke 14:27: "Anyone who wants to follow me should deny himself and put on his cross every day."

Since Jesus chose us out from the world, the world hates us because if we belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own (John 15:18-19). (Caution, there is something trouble with our Christianity if the world loves us!)
We will be hated by all men on account of Jesus' name (Matt 10:22; 24:29; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17). Since Jesus passed the Father's word on to us, the world has got to hate us (John 17:14).
This hatred manifests itself in many ways. "... people ... speak all kinds of calumny against you" (Matt 5:11). We are called Beelzebub (Matt 10:25). They will hand us over to Sanhedrins and scourge us in their religious buildings. We will be dragged before governors and kings (Matt 10:17-19; Mark 13:9). Some of the least brothers of Jesus will be in prison (Matt 25:36,39,43-44; Luke 22:33; Matt 11:3). Beating, scourge, torture (Mark 13:9; Matt 10:17; 23:34) and execution (Matt 10:21; Mark 13:12; Luke 21:16; Matt 10:28; Luke 12:4; Matt 23:34) finish the list.
Thus Jesus' disciples are often persecuted but they have never persecuted others. They do not even beat back when they are harmed.
Summarizing, the word "cross" bears all this content. In Jesus' usage "cross" means above all persecution directed to Christ's people and by no means the burdens of everyday life and illness to which we often refer with this word nowadays (and which figuratively we can call cross but only without dimming the original meaning!). When Jesus was talking about the cross, to his audience this word meant nothing else but gallows, the most torturing and most degrading way of execution. Jesus said about this gallows that who does not carry it is not worthy of him (Matt 10:38), and for carrying it we have to deny ourselves (Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34). (The burdens of everyday life and illness everyone must carry! The point here is risk and harass undertaken for the sake of Christ!)
Carrying this cross brings regular (Luke 9:23) risk and defencelessness and if someone does not take it up he cannot be Jesus' follower (Luke 14:27). It cannot be avoided to follow Jesus this way, for "the disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master." (Matt 10:24-25)
Why? Why must the kind-hearted God and those who he manages to teach for kindheartedness undergo such a terrible fate on the Earth?
5.3. "I Prove Its Deeds Are Wicked, Therefore the World Hates Me"
Luke 1:51-53: "He has... scattered the proud with all their plans. He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands."

Why are Christians hated and persecuted, although they love even their enemies and do not do harm to anyone? "For no reason", even the Bible says (John 15:25). "For which good work of mine are you stoning me?" "Can one of you convict me of sin?", Jesus asked (John 10:32; 8:46).
Yet this hatred has a very real reason: Who is the slave of Mammon hates God (Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13) and everybody who does wrong hates the light (John 3:20).
Jesus points out the reason of hatred even more specifically: "The world ... does hate me, because I give evidence that its ways are evil." (John 7:7) With their mere existence, but with their word and deeds as well his disciples have to stand up for the poor and depressed, to give evidence that the world's ways are evil, therefore the world will hate also them.
Helder Camara, a Brazilian bishop's saying Å that has been quoted many times Å represents well the two sides of the mission from Jesus, good deeds and prophetical standing-up: "When I give bread to the hungry, you say I am a saint. But when I ask why the hungry do not have bread, you say I am a communist (which means an instigator who is best to get hanged Å Gy. S.)."
This is the hardest part of the calling from Jesus, this brings conflicts, becoming notorious, persecution. Therefore Christians do not wish to put much effort in following Jesus' example as for this part. The high respect for Mary illustrates this well. While it transfers to her many characteristics that are not backed up by the Bible, it does not acknowledge much the young Mary's prophetical radicalism. This teenager Jewish girl, who is thrilled to know she is expecting a baby, sings with incredibly hard words against social injustice, rich and power. The respect for Mary that is not based on facts written in the Holy Scriptures and does not dare to discover and use this tone, is human deviation.
But why is proving and exposing the sins of world so important? So important that for it even persecution and death must be undertaken? A Christian is a peaceful person who leaves judgement for God, no?
Yes, this is true: he leaves passing and carrying out of the sentence for God. "... when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest." (Matt 13:29-30, cf. e.g. with Matt 7:1-2; Luke 6:37). "...the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels", Jesus explains the parable (Matt 13:39). A man is unqualified for jurisdiction, and when he judges, comes down with imprisonment, sentence to death, war, he does more damage than good. Humane conscience wakes up to this more and more widespread from the horrible experience of history, that jurisdiction and wars shed plenty of innocent blood.
In Hungary the Constitutional Court cancelled death penalty. One of the reasons is that it is incompatible with the respect of life.
Even Jesus himself did not come (the first time, cf. John 5:22-27), to judge the world in this juridical sense (John 3:17). However, he was sentenced to death in the name of God and law and order by the high priests and judges. Tragic, that a certain so-called Christian way of thinking has not learned even from this and has disdained Jesus' forbidding in the cases of so-called 'just' war, jurisdiction, death penalty, and persecuting so-called 'heretics'. Sure enough, when it hears prophetical word, wants to silence it immediately citing falsely: "Do not judge!"
Yes, Jesus did judge (John 5:30; 8:16; 9;39; cf. Matt 12;18), but only in moral sense, without any violent consequence. According to his teaching we also have to judge in the same way, nonviolently and justly (John 7:24), we have to witness God's judgement and will (cf. e.g. John 3:19; 16:8 and 11; Matt 23:14).
Jesus got a gallows tree instead of a Peace Nobel price, because He did not settle only for good deeds but undertook the prophetical calling as well. These two never should be parted and played off against each other.

5.4. "As We, Too, Remit Our Owers' Debts."

Luke 4:18-19: "The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives ... to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favor."

Jesus thus condemned what is bad, but many more times than this he taught by showing what is good. In the last resort he proclaimed the civilization of love in contrast with the civilization of club law. This, however, causes the deadly hatred of this world just as well as criticism. We will understand right away, why.
Those who Jesus talked to, were brought up in the knowledge of the Old Testament. The terms were familiar to them, they knew what those meant. Let us see now the paragraphs from the Old Testament whose knowledge Jesus supposes when he puts the Lord's year of favor in the center of his mission.
5Mose (Deut) 15:1-15: "At the end of every seven years you must grant a remission. Now the nature of the remission is this: every creditor who holds the person of his neighbor in bond must grant him remission; he may not exact payment from his fellow or his brother once the latter appeals to Yahweh for remission. ... Let there be no poor among you then. For Yahweh will bless you ... only if you pay careful attention to the voice of Yahweh your God...
Is there a poor man among you, one of your brothers ...? Do not harden your heart or close your hand against that poor brother of yours, but be openhanded with him and lend him enough for his needs. Do not allow this mean thought in your heart, 'The seventh year, the year of remission is near', and look coldly on your poor brother and give him nothing; he could appeal against you to Yahweh and it would be a sin for you. When you give to him, you must give with an open heart; for this Yahweh you God will bless you in all you do and in all your giving.
If your fellow Hebrew, man or woman, is sold to you, he can serve you for six years. In the seventh year you must set him free, and in setting him free you must not let him go empty-handed. You must make him a generous provision from your flock, your threshing floor, your winepress; as Yahweh your God has blessed you, so you must give to him. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and that Yahweh your God redeemed you."

3Mose (Lev) 25:8-55: "You are to count ... seven times seven years, ... forty-nine years. ... This is to be a jubilee for you; each of you will return to his ancestral home, each to his own clan. ...
Land must not be sold in perpetuity, for the land belongs to me, and to me you are only strangers and guests. ... If your brother falls on evil days and has to sell his patrimony, his nearest relation shall come to him and exercise his right of redemption on what his brother has sold. ... If he cannot find the sum for paying the compensation, the property sold shall remain in the possession of the purchaser until the jubilee year. In the jubilee year, the latter must relinquish it and return to his own property. ...
If your brother who is living with you falls on evil days and is unable to support himself with you, you must support him as you would a stranger or a guest, and he must continue to live with you. Do not make him work for you, do not take interest from him; fear your God... You are not to lend him money at interest, or give him food to make a profit out of it...
If your brother falls on evil days when he is with you and sells himself to you, you must not impose a slave's work on him; he shall be like a hired man or a guest, and shall work with you until the jubilee year. Then he shall leave you, he and his children; he shall return to his clan and regain possession of his ancestral property. ..."

Remission of debts, freeing prisoners, giving back properties serve the reestablishing of an original, brotherly sharing society in every fifty years. This is the Lord's year of favor. God's Kingdom is not at all a merely spiritual thing, but exactly this brotherly sharing society. This is what stands in the center of Jesus' mission.
In contrast with the ideal of this society stand the world, where strong people are gaining more and more, the weak are growing more and more poor and into slavery; where injustice on the level of a family, residential district, village, town, region, country and the world is justified by rules mirroring the despotism of the strong, and is maintained by structures of violence.
Also grace is not only a spiritual thing but the mercy of a creditor on a debtor who cannot pay; the mercy of the strong on the defenceless weak. It is really grace, for debt is remitted, slaves are let go free and property is given back without compensation. However, it is really God's grace, for he owns the land and everyone is only a hired servant on it. And God has mercy only on those who have mercy on their fellow men. To show how far God's mercy is from being free from this point of view, Jesus emphasizes strongly in his parable about the unforgiving debtor: "(the master) handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And this is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart." (Matt 18:35)
And that how much this forgiving is not only spiritual but concerns literally to materials as well, is horrifyingly clear in the literal translation of the prayer we say the frequentliest: "And remit us our debts as we, too, remit the debts of our owers." (Matt 6:12)
Can this be? What is finances' business in the Lord's Prayer? There it talks about forgiving sins, doesn't it?
Yes, in his explanation after the Lord's Prayer Jesus expands those to remit to every sin: "Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours." (Matt 6:14) However, the text of the Lord's Prayer itself talks literally about ower and debt. It talks about that brotherly society which God has ordered by the command about the year of favor, but instead of which this world maintains the society of club law.

When we face this teaching of Jesus with the reality, we can grasp why Jesus got murdered. Let us choose from the outrages a world-level one. All debt of the Third World was 800 thousand million dollar in 1982. In the past ten years they paid, as amortization, more than one and a half as much of this sum: 1.3 trillion dollar. The rich part of the world, however, states the interests on a way that the debt has grown almost twofold: in 1992 the poor countries owed 1.45 trillion dollar. (SEEDlinks No. 9. May 1993) This is one of the basic reasons of that on the world more than thousand children die of hunger in one hour.
Do we feel the importance of that Christians in the rich countries should understand what stands in the Lord's Prayer, which they say so often? What a destiny will those receive who dare to cite the words of the Lord's prayer to the actual situation: God forgives our sins only as much as we remit the debts of our owers? What a revolutionary sentence this is in the stock-market, in the bank, in the court, in the parliament, in the international circles? What a destiny will those receive who march opposite interests of hundred thousand millions?
But who dares to state that God does not forgive? For we know that God's mercy is endless - we can hear the objection at once. Truly, it is not Jesus' loving Father, but an idol that is invented by the rich to reassure themselves is the god that is claimed to overlook everything. In contrast with this Jesus talks about the loving heavenly father like this: "...but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either." (Matt 6:15)
But who dares to cite this? Who dares to cite Jesus' wows for the rich, the laughing, the courted? Who dares to construe the Lord's Prayer literally? Who dares to undertake Jesus' mission and proclaim the good news to the hundred millions of starving people, liberty for the prisoners and oppressed, who dares to proclaim the Lord's year of favor?
If we let the Spirit, the Spirit of Love, that inspires mercy, anoint and send us out, then we will be able to overcome our fear.
5.5. Peaceful Violent Ones and Unpeaceful Nonviolent Ones
Luke 23:5: "He is inflaming the people with his teaching ..."

Naturally no one likes conflicts, a Christian man especially does not, for he has to be a man of peace. This is right: obviously he must not take part in the wars and violence structures of oppression, collection of debts, guarding prisoners and properties, and self-defence; for his vocation calls him to the opposite of these: to set free, remit debts, free prisoners, share materials, love for enemies to the sacrifice of life, and to teach all these to others as well. Besides, these good aims he must not reach by using violence, since, as we have seen, in Jesus' opinion a man is not suitable and therefore is not called to do good and justice with violence. Thus a Christian must be nonviolent, a man of peace.
However, when Jesus takes firm steps against the structures of violence and injustice with his hard words, he unavoidably raises conflicts and turbulence against himself. False Christians, on the contrary, avoid conflicts and are in peace with the establishments of violence (either on the power's or the revolution's side) and by this attitude (at least tacitly) they support them. (E.g. peace priests: private peace with the persecutors of the church, leaving the persecuted Christians in the lurch, many times participation in persecuting.) ((This was a movement in Hungary during the communist era. These priests were accepted by the state, in fact, when the state wanted to put some bishops or priests away from their places, those had to be replaced by these "peace priests".))
Thus apparently the supporters of violence are peaceful and turbulent are the nonviolent, those who strive for a peace that is not maintained by violence. The former position themselves well (in the favour of the mighty) but feel uncomfortable; the latter do not position themselves but feel comfortable, for they have inner peace. " is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does." (!)
In this apparently contradictory situation Christians are often accused or mocked with representing nonviolence violently. However, then this accusation applies to Jesus as well: He talked very sharply about supporters and beneficiaries of the structures of violence. In this sense He did not come to bring peace (Matt 10:34; Luke 12:51) but rather division. In his case He is not accused only of a kind of gentleness, but expressly of inflaming (Luke 23:5 and 14). However, He was far from any kind of violent rebellion. His teaching is liberating in a completely different sense, as we will see later.

The other area, where Jesus' following often causes division, is, sorry to say, the family. Relatives usually expect a great person to advance their career. Since the way of thinking of a disciple of Jesus is not directed by the interests of the relatives, but by universal love, he is not respected much in his own family (Matt 13:57). In fact, not enough that he does not help them, he even makes the name of the family infamous. The close relatives also can easily be disapproved, bothered, persecuted because of the prophet, they are also held responsible for him, why they let him go his own way. This is why his relatives wanted to take Jesus home (Mark 3:21 and 31). The Old Testament even ordered that relatives must throw the first stone when destroying a prophet declared false (Deut 13:1-15).
Thus it is 'understandable' that his own family easily can become one's greatest enemy (Luke 12:53; Matt 10:21 and 34-38; Mark 13:12; Luke 21:16). (For instance, parents disinherit their children, or at least refuse to support them materially when they learn that the children earmark considerable sums for sending them to the starving people. They try to keep back their children by weeping and threatening from undertaking imprisonment for their faith, which punishment may mean great shame, in fact, danger to the family, from a worldly point of view.) Jesus emphasizes this many times, lest his disciples' prophetical calling come to grief due to their adaptation to their families. He has to prepare his followers to the conflicts within the family, which are especially hard, for the family of a Christian should be the home of love.
5.6. The Sense of Being Persecuted
John 16:21: "...she forgets the suffering ... in her joy ..."

It is not only our destiny that we have to make ourselves realize, but also its sense, that very main principle of the world, that basic thought of God the Creator, that we mentioned in the beginning.
To be a Christian means to receive from Christ the new life, the life of love, the life of God, the undestroyable, eternal life, that does not stop with the biological death, the life in God's Kingdom and community of love, the life of unity, in unity with God and each other, when God lives within us and we within him...
This life means identity of life with Jesus, from which grows identity of attitude (giving, service, prophetical word, nonviolence). This attitude brings negative (poverty, smallness, persecutedness, defencelessness) and positive (hundreds of brothers, etc and undestroyable Life) identity of destiny (cf. Mark 10:28-30), but the negative part is ephemeral, while the positive is eternal. Christian life is a blossoming of this divine life: when we are reborn, the new life is young in us yet, and during our biological life it grows mysteriously by that we say 'Yes' to Love in our deeds.
Do we think this Love can develop also if we avoid suffering? Do we want to develop by doing and undertaking nothing risky? Are risky things unnecessary? Can the muscles of a body develop without physical efforts? Or can a child become smart if we protect him even from the wind?
Is it possible to love without giving to the poor, undertaking the risk of that we also will get poorer? Can we love without serving the needy who are unable to pay, undertaking the risk that we drop behind in the fight for positions and be socially small? Can we love without raising our voice for the oppressed, undertaking the risk that we bring down the oppressors' wrath on ourselves? Can we love without renouncing violence, undertaking the risk that we have to bear insults without hitting back and can even get killed?
This basic law of the Life's development Jesus puts in words in this six times emphasized, widely repeated paradox of his:

Matt 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33; John 12:25: "Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it (his Life); but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it (his Life)."

Naturally, "for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel" is a very important key-phrase! It is not just anything that we have to risk and suffer for.
This principle is represented by some other similes as well:

John 16:21: "A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world."

John 12:24: "I tell, you most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest."

Luke 24:26: "Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?"

However, according to this last quotation, we should not think of something like that God wanted and predestinated Jesus' suffering. The Owner of the vineyard did not send his Son to get him murdered by the wicked tenants, on the contrary, he hoped: "They will respect my son." (Matt 21:37) Jesus did not come to die, but to gather (Matt 23:37; cf. Matt 12:30), to teach love and gentleness. And from this aim he could not be diverted by deadly threat, in fact, by execution, either. He showed and example of that Love does not hit back even in deadly danger, it rather dies. Since its Life is undestroyable anyway. Who persevere in love for enemies, who bear everything rather than resorting to violence, those will be sons of the Father (Matt 5:44-45), those may enter into the glory.
So if we want to work on the development of this eternal, happy, divine Life within ourselves, then we must not fear of that it really happens to develop in us. Although this aim equals giving life away, as the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep, directed this as a way for us: "This is my commandment: love on another, as I have loved you. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)
Thus by suffering it is not only our eternal Life that we gain, but we also do something great for others, for our friends, as, for instance, Paul did when, in spite of its entailing persecution, he proclaimed Christ, and by this attitude of his, which undertook suffering, he won many people for the life in Christ.
The third sense of Christians' bearing everything cannot be omitted: that by our not hitting back we can work on peace among men most effectively. The hope of Isaiah, "... nowhere will man kill anymore...!" is a far, yet strongly attracting aim of this leavening the world. As the Apostle of Petôfi, we can feel that Earth, this precious grape, has become more ripe when a little beam of the sun died on it. ((cf. Tab, at the end of it there is a poem quoted))
"... be brave: I have conquered the world." (John 16:33) It was not us who started this fight! We take part in God's some thousand year long work. He fights with us, in fact, actually we fight with him. This is the true reality. "I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven." It is being driven out of the world. Martyrs are the most enduring figures of history (e.g. Celestin the fifth). Accordingly, we have to be brave humbly, not self-importantly. For it is God's courage within us.
5.7. Real Freedom
Luke 4:18: "The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me ... to proclaim liberty to captives ... to set the downtrodden free ...!"

As for the disciples, Jesus' explanation of their destiny turned out to be not enough: they were scandalized when putting away the sword and they scattered in the night of Jesus' arrest. They were still before the resurrection and the Pentecost. What does it mean to us that we are after these (if we are after these already in the development of our personality and community)?
"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Thus Jesus talks about a further measure that is a consequence of accepting and understanding his teaching. But what does he mean by this release, liberation, making us free? Why did he say that Isaiah' prophecy is being fulfilled by him (Luke 4:21), although he did not set captives free, neither liberated Israel or the poor of Israel?
"The two most liberating motives of Jesus' life: his incredible sovereignty, by which he relativized the authority of Moses and the Law; and his solidarity with the sinners, with the discriminated... The liberating process, that Jesus caused, came into conflict with the power interests of the council and Rome. Therefore the resistance against Jesus grew to the hardest violence. Jesus distanced himself from the believers of revolutionary violence, he avoided every kind of cooperating with violence in the fight for the Kingdom of God, but he did not give it up." (Smolik, Concilium, 1969/8. issue).
"Jesus was condemned for political reasons. Not that he would have wanted to put himself to the place of the powers alternating with each other, but because his critical attitude he showed towards any of the ruling or those classes which were endeavoring to rule made him burdensome and unbearable for all who were practicing power." (Gonzales-Ruiz, Concilium, 1973/4. iss.)

"It is not enough to say Christ died, but that they murdered him! (In fact, by the mechanism of "administration of justice", with a judgement! Å Gy. S.) ... This is of decisive importance, for the resurrection not only a release from the natural bounds of life, but from the historical and social bounds!
The liberation He brings is not a reconquering of a region or a power position, but a challenge to live and carry out an incredibly complete freedom, so that by this ((the challenge)) the principle of relations of power itself has become questionable! ('One must obey to God, not to men!') The power was not mistaken in this case: it killed Jesus because of this refusing activity of his, in which, however, there was nothing politically revolutionary." (Garaudy, Concilium 1975/4. iss.)
But this was just the thing Jesus' liberation became complete by. The power scored a huge own goal, for exactly when it fulfilled its threat, the threat turned out to be only empty word and weakness. Jesus completed exactly by his death and resurrection what he had started by his words and life: relativizing power, relativizing every human wickedness and violence. He proved that God alone owns every power and strength and beside him every power is only a toy and weakness.

5.8. Power of God
Luke 21:16,18: "You will be betrayed ... and some of you will be put to death ... but not a hair of your head will be lost."

From this wonderful perspective of freedom we can grasp this paradox of Jesus. No matter if we lose our lives, our Life is not vulnerable, our Personalities cannot be harmed (Luke 12:6-7; Matt 10:29-31). Jesus demonstrates this very clearly in an apocryphal gospel where Peter interrupts at the simile about sheep and wolf, "And what if the wolves kill the sheep?" Jesus answers, "After their death, the sheep have no need to be afraid of the wolves!" The following commandment of Jesus expresses the same divine reality: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more." (Luke 12:4)
Jesus proclaims magnificently the very basis of our freedom:

John 10:28-29: "I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father."

Resurrection is an evidence of this, and Pentecost is the event when this becomes our life: we have not only understood but done this as well: we persevere in the life according to the teaching, which we learn more and more about through practice, we experience that it works, it proves to be good. God strengthens us, as he did to Jesus: "... the time will come Å in fact it has come already Å when you will be scattered, each going his own way and leaving me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." (John 16:32) He makes us free by living within us. "With me in them and you (the Father) in me." (John 17:23)
5.9. Courage in Being Persecuted and in Peace
John 11:16: "Let us go too, and die with him."

This is why Jesus' encouragements have potential: "Do not be afraid." (John 12:15) "... my own peace I give you, ... Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27) "In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world." (John 16:33)
The greatest danger is, when someone swerves merely out of fear, without being even touched. When in peacetime we brood over things like "am I doing something so valuable that is worth losing my calm welfare, career, outer peace, and life?", then we are not committed yet, we do not have faith yet.
"It is only the unknown that one fears", Saint-Exupery says. This is why Jesus' promise is wonderful, because if we have trust, we do not need to fear the future. The Spirit will speak courage through our mouths in persecution. (Luke 21:14; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11; Matt 10:19) We can, if not cancel, but at least overcome our fear, if we follow Jesus even being apprehensive (Mark 10:32), since he goes before us in persecution, the way we are to go is familiar from his words and life. If for the first time we dare to follow him even with trembling knees, the power of the Holy Spirit will not be unknown for us anymore. We are not left to rely only on our human power, for our aim is not to overcome fear, not toughness, but we live the duty God has given to us in his historical work. If we remain in God, we will get the necessary help and strength in every situation, and so we can keep to the way of love (Mark 14:33; Luke 22:43). Jesus prayed, and adapted completely to his Father's will. This is what we have to do even in the smallest things, practicing for the moments of great decisions. Paul, who was many times persecuted, bears a wonderful witness of God's might again and again: "With God on our side who can be against us? ... Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. ... These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us." (Romans 8:32-37)
Crises are rare. The situation seldom allows open persecution. Even in the first three centuries, which seem to be continuous persecution, during 250 year (from Nero to Constantin, from 64 to 313) there were only ten great persecutions, and except the last one, they were short. Thus 220-230 (90 %) of the 250 years could be considered peacetime. Threats and fear, however, can cripple the coward in this 90 % peacetime as well, while the brave who are ready to undertake everything for Christ can keep working. Who fears, does not dare to do anything and spends his whole life in the yoke of fear. "If only I would be over the final examination..." "if only I succeeded in the entrance exam..." "if only I managed to get my diploma..." "if only I could reach that position..." "if only my child would be able to...", this is how coward deceive themselves. While the brave, even if they suffer persecution, exactly through it they experience God's power and the richness of his promises (Acts 5:41). We will be given also the courage of peacetime by him, who showed such an incredible courage (" is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you; are you going back again?") that he captivated his disciples as well: "Let us go too, and die with him." (John 11:16)
5.10. Courage in the Panics of Mankind
Luke 21:26: "There will be ... men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world..."

God can free us not only from fear of persecutions, but from fear of disasters and future. "And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened..." (Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9) "There will be ...on earth nations in agony, ... men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold you heads high, because your liberation is near at hand." (Luke 21:25-28)
These words are of great significance now, when, apart from the dreadful possibility of a nuclear war, mankind is threatened by the similarly considerable danger of an ecological crisis, and when it is especially important that Christians fight for carrying out the civilization of love (sharing, solidarity, nonviolence) and live out their mission in the interest of mankind with full intensivity and without any fear and panic.
6. Thankfulness for Happiness
John 15:10-11: "If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, ... so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete."

Matt 5:11-12: "Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."

Luke 6:22: "Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, then your reward will be great in heaven."

Luke 1:68-75: "Blessed be the Lord ... for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue and he has raised up for us a power for salvation ... he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all who hat us. ... he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies, to serve him in holiness and virtue in his presence, all our days."

Questions for Self-exercise or Teaching
1.1 What does "being scandalized" means?
1.3 Is it inevitable that a community scatters in persecution?
2. What represent fear in the parable of the sower?
What sins can fear cause?
Can we bring up our fear to Jesus as an excuse for our omissions and sins?
3.1 Which parts of the gospel would you recommend to someone who fears?
3.2 Find examples in the gospel for fear of God and the absence of this!
3.3 Find examples for "shock of God"!
3.4 How does the fear of the Trouble overcome our wrong fears?
4.1 What kind of positive role can fear have?
4.2 What kind of positive role can fear from court have?
When may this fear not have a role?
4.3 What is the difference between running away and scattering?
4.4 What does unmixed cleverness mean in practice?
4.5 Find examples for Jesus' awareness!
What is the right proportion of "Beware of men" and "Do not be afraid" according to Jesus' example in our lives
4.6 What is the aim of discipline of secret in Jesus' life and in the life today?
What is the difference between saying the truth and fruitful speech?
4.7 Do I have the right to convert someone, if by this I make him persecuted?
When does Jesus prepare his disciples for persecution? And us?
What does the Shepherd have to protect those who are entrusted to him from?
How are the disciples responsible for their master?
4.8 What do we have to beware of?
How do we have to beware of human carefulness?
4.9 How did Jesus take care to keep to the way of love?
How did Jesus protect his worldly life?
5.1 What is the greatest stumbling-block in Jesus' teaching and following?
5.2 Why are Christians hated by the world?
How does this hatred manifest itself?
What does taking up our cross every day mean?
5.3 Why did neither Jesus nor Helder Camara get Peace Nobel Prize? How must we not and how do we have to judge?
5.4 What is the Lord's year of favour?
Is law's order compatible with the Lord's Prayer?
5.5 How can peace be around the violent and turbulence around the nonviolent?
How can we make our family circle the home of love?
5.6 What is the sense of being persecuted?
What is the threefold fruit of undertaking suffering?
5.7 How would you tell the oppressed what kind of liberation Jesus has brought?
How would you tell a prisoner what it means to live in Jesus' freedom?
5.8 How would you tell an insurance booker what our safety's basis is?
5.9 How does the Spirit free us from fear of the future?
5.10 What is the significance of the "professional Christian"'s fearless holding on in the crisis situation of the world today?
6. How can those who weep be happy and how can a persecuted dance for joy?