Responsible and Accountable
July 6, 2022
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).
Scripture teaches us that God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (present at all times). Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit share in these same attributes because they are one with God the Father in essence, character, nature, and purpose. This begs the question, “If Jesus knew the disciples would fail in their loyalty to, and faith in Him, then why warn them about it?”
In His omniscience, Jesus knew what would happen to Him, and to them, in the course of the evening and the following day. He knew ahead of time that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. He knew that Peter would deny Him. He knew the disciples would abandon Him. And they did. However, being created in the image of God, mankind is responsible to God for the life He has given us and for the decisions we make. The disciples were accountable to Jesus for their actions, even though He warned them what those actions would be. They had been given the knowledge and the resources necessary to stand against the wiles of the devil (fear, threats, intimidation, etc.) and the temptations of the flesh (spiritual weakness, self-preservation, etc.). In fact, Jesus was emphatic and persistent in His warning them of what was to take place and how they would react to it. Yet they failed to heed the warning and gave into the flesh. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, they fled. When Jesus stood before Annas and Caiaphas, Peter denied Jesus. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, all but John hid out in fear of their lives.
We can sympathize with the disciples, for even the best among us is susceptible to spiritual weakness. Dr. Cecil Hyatt, professor of Old Testament at my college alma mater use to say, “There is enough bad in the best of us, and enough good in the worst of us, that it behooves the best of us not to criticize the worst of us.” We cannot condemn the disciples for their actions, for who knows what we would have done had we been in their sandals. On the other hand, their failure to remain faithful to Jesus under pressure is inexcusable. They would be forgiven by Jesus’ death on the cross, and for that they would be grateful. But for the rest of their lives they would remember the moments of weakness that led them to act contrary to their declaration to stand with Him, even unto death (Matthew 26:33,35).
Jesus said, For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48). We cannot escape the fact of our accountability to the Lord Jesus for the responsibilities He has entrusted to us. To remain steadfast in His Word, to listen and follow His Holy Spirit, to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7), to take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13), etc. are all actions we are responsible for as followers of Jesus Christ, and are accountable to Him for that responsibility. May we be faithful to Him as He has been, and will continue to be faithful to us. Amen.