If Jesus’ followers were thousands at the time of crucifixion, why did they not save him? They were such cowards who let their Prophet/Messiah beaten by the Romans. Muslims were far more brave, whose 15,000 men fought against the Byzantine Empire’s army of 140,000 in 636 CE and captured the Christian Levant. Why were Jesus’ followers cowards?


This charge that the disciples of Jesus were cowards is not justified, given the evidence.  Jesus was a man of peace, and called his followers to peace.   When Jesus was arrested, Peter defended him with a sword, but Jesus told him to put the sword away.  Jesus did not come to start a war or to go around killing people.  Muhammad was a man of violence and a soldier.  Jesus was a man of peace.  Surely, all will agree that it is better to be a man of peace than a man of violence and war.
In fact, the followers of Jesus were very brave.  They faced death every moment of their lives.  Peter was executed for his faith, as were many of the early disciples.  They faced death, imprisonment and persecution for their faith, yet they never backed down.  Just because one does not go to war or kill one’s enemies does not mean that a person is not brave.  In point of fact, the early Christians were very brave.  Many went to cities where persecution was happening for the “privilege” of dying for Christ.
Besides, Jesus was held in jail by a ruthless dictator with hundreds of soldiers at his disposal.  Even if the disciples were willing to die to defend him from the government (which they would not do because Jesus was a man of peace), what were they to do?  Should they have attacked well-armed soldiers by punching them or kicking them? This would not have been bravery, but suicide.  When the Jews did in fact foolishly rebel against Rome 35 years later, hundreds of thousands of them were killed by Rome’s armies.  So, the disciples were NOT cowards, but even if they had wanted to rescue Jesus, that would have been absolutely impossible.  It is thoroughly unfair to accuse the early Christians of being cowards.
I will agree with you that the early Muslims were quite brave, as they took war to the Persian and Byzantine empires.  Muhammad was also a very brave man who endured great persecution and even death.  It is surprising that he did not die a violent death.  I do not deny that the early Muslims, generally, were very brave and devoted to their cause, which explains some of their military successes.  Having said that, it requires at least as much bravery to face persecution and death and to not use violence to oppose it.  Christianity’s message of loving one’s enemies, caring for the needy, and his call to peace, not war, requires great courage on the part of his followers.  And it is a much superior call to be a person of peace than a person of war.   It is very unfair and inaccurate to accuse Jesus’ followers of being cowards.
John Oakes

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