Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.
– Matthew 4:12 (ESV)
At some point on His journey from the Jordan to Galilee, there came news that John the Baptist had been arrested. No doubt this upset Andrew, Philip, and John.
They worried about what would happen to their former master.
And they suddenly became aware there were risks to proclaiming the good news of the coming kingdom of God.
What if something similar or worse happened to Jesus? …or to themselves?
Our short-term mission trip ended just in time! We better head back to the fishing boats.
It might have seemed good to them to lay low for a while, but not to Jesus. He knew it wasn't a matter of chance that something bad might happen. He knew His mission would cost Him… even His very life (Luke 13:33).
Yet Jesus continued doing what He was doing anyway. In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, He taught in the synagogues and out in the field. The Truth told it like it is, with no thought of the consequences. And even though many wanted to kill Him for it (as in Luke 4:28-29), He was committed to doing His Father's will no matter the cost.
This commitment came about because Jesus had already wrestled with and overcome the flesh during His temptation in the wilderness. The battle was over. He was dead to self and nothing could change that.
The disciples, however, were still living for themselves, even following Jesus for their own personal benefit (Mark 10:35-37, Luke 9:46). They hadn't come to grips with what it would cost them personally to follow Jesus. And they wouldn't until later confronted by their resurrected Master (John 21:18-22).
Like those disciples, chances are we also haven't come to grips with the cost.
Oh, we say we'll follow Jesus anywhere, whatever happens.
"Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!"
But if we lay low while others suffer 'for righteousness sake', we need to realize Self is not dead yet.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
– 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
We seek to avoid suffering for Christ because Jesus hasn't confronted us yet either.