You have paid the highest price to save me. Help me not shrink back, but to willingly obey though it costs me.
What did Jesus tell us to expect?
Mission is not going to be one glorious triumph after another. We can expect rejection and even downright hostility. The level of persecution described here (17-23) was the experience for Jewish Christians in the years after Jesus' resurrection, and still is today for Christians in some parts of the world. We also can expect to experience hostility--daily jibes, friends or family members keeping their distance--and though different, it can be enough to discourage or dissuade us from sharing the Good News about Jesus.
Jesus knew what lay ahead, so he gave three instructions:
- Be on your guard (17). If you expect opposition you will be emotionally and spiritually prepared for it (see Eph. 6:10-18).
- Do not worry (19). You are not alone. Even if a situation looks dire, we must remember that God is with us by his Holy Spirit, and his Spirit will direct our thoughts and our words whenever we are put on the spot.
- Do not be afraid (26,28,31). We need to keep a heavenly perspective--life is more than the time we spend in our present earthly bodies (28). In God's hands we are eternally safe.
Journal a response to these questions: What am I willing to give up for Jesus? Is there anything I am holding back?
Lord, You have called us to count the cost. Help me to soberly consider and give You all.
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