Persecution

Description

Don't be surprised if you suffer persecution. When you follow Jesus, opposition will come.

Pray:

Gracious God, today may my actions validate my belief in You, and may the glory be Yours, always.

Read:

Matthew 10:17-31

Meditate

Consider: "What we have here (10:5-42) are travel instructions (5-15), trouble instructions (16:23), and trust instructions (24-42)" (Dale Bruner). When we follow Jesus, opposition will come. We are reminded to trust our Heavenly Father in such times (29-31).

Think Further:

Today's passage makes sobering reading. As the disciples listened to Jesus, many of them were probably initially excited about getting the opportunity to do the sorts of things he had been doing. Then he started to talk about them being hauled up in front of the authorities, punishment by flogging, family conflict and betrayal, persecution and being constantly on the move. The promise was that it wouldn't be glamorous or easy--opposition and persecution were guaranteed! The disciples weren't to be surprised when they suffered persecution.

For most contemporary Western Christians this is far from our experience. Rather, we're seeing the church move to the margins of society, and the "persecution" we mostly encounter is indifference. Christians have to grapple with the church being increasingly regarded as an anachronistic institution that should no longer be at the heart of the nation's life. Our Christendom-related claim to a special place with automatic influence over matters of morality, ethics and social policy is being eroded. Our challenge is to find fresh ways to be salt and light in society, taking timeless God-given truths and translating them into a largely secular post-Christian context. And if we are persecuted we need to ensure that it's for the right things.

Reassuringly, Jesus doesn't stop at the persecution bit! The bigger picture is that ultimately nothing will be hidden; all will be revealed of God's purposes for humanity. Because God sees everything, his loving oversight and presence bring intimate, detailed knowledge of our situations. Consequently, disciples of Jesus then and now can engage in God's mission with confidence and with the Holy Spirit's enabling (20).

Apply:

Find out about the persecuted church across the world from www.persecution.org and pray for Christian brothers and sisters suffering for their faith.

Pray:

Sovereign Lord, in times of trouble may my cry always be, "My God, I trust in You, I trust in You." I lift up my Christian brothers and sisters suffering for their faith.

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