When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were amazed and they realized that these men had been with Jesus.
When the British tried to invade Nepal in the early 1800s, they were so amazed by the bravery of the Nepalese Gurkha soldiers, that they decided they would make much better comrades than enemies. The Gurkhas still fight with British forces to this day.
British Field Marshall, Sam Manekshaw once remarked, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” Sir Ralph Turner, who served with the Gurkhas in World War I called them the “bravest of the brave.”
Jesus’ disciples weren’t noted for their bravery. They all claimed, mind you, that they were willing to die with Jesus, but when the soldiers arrived at Gethsemane to arrest their master, they all ran and disappeared into the night.
But, these timid followers were soon transformed. They boldly stood up to proclaim the good news about Jesus – even though they would go on to suffer floggings, imprisonment, and martyrdom.
What accounted for such courage? The people noticed only one thing: that these men “had been with Jesus.” When the disciples realized that their rabbi was not defeated by death, but had triumphed over it, everything changed for them.
Our behavior is transformed when we realize that we cannot lose. When we join the forces of Light in the victory over Darkness, we will find the courage that only conquerors know.
When President Sukarno of Indonesia announced, in 1963, that he was going to “crush Malaysia,” British forces were sent in to oppose his attack – which meant that the Gurkhas from Nepal were called in to help.
Tim Bowden, in his book, One Crowded Hour, writes that the Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump from transport planes into combat. Surprisingly, the Gurkhas, who usually agreed to anything, provisionally rejected the plan. A cameraman, Neil Davis, told Bowden an incident that went something like this:
The next day, one of the Gurkha officers sought out the British officer who made the request. “We have talked it over, and are prepared to jump under certain conditions.”
“What are they?”
“We’ll jump if the land is marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky outcrops.”
The British officer said that the dropping area would almost certainly be over jungle, and there would not be rocky outcrops.
“Yes,” said the Gurkha. “We want the plane to fly as slowly as possible and no more than one hundred feet high.”
The British officer told them the planes always fly as slow as possible when dropping troops, but to jump from one hundred feet was impossible, because the parachutes wouldn’t open in time.
“Oh,” the Gurkha responded. “That’s all right then. We’ll jump . . . you didn’t tell us we would have parachutes.”
(copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)