In Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, He warns His disciples of the trials and tribulations that will come for them and those who follow Him.
“But before all these things, beware of men. Be on your guard, for they will lay their hands on you, and will persecute you, delivering you to the Sanhedrin, and scourge you in their synagogues and prison.”
Jesus warns that their fiercest opposition will be from their fellow Jews, even their religious leaders. Attacks hurt regardless of when they come or who they come from, but when they come from people we expect to hate us, we’re more emotionally prepared to handle them. It’s when they come from those we’d expect, or at least hope would understand and accept us that we need to especially “beware” and “be on our guard,” bracing ourselves emotionally for the attack.
It’s interesting how The Merged Gospels weaves together these passages. Matthew 24:9-14, Mark 13:9-13 and Luke 21:12-19… together with Matthew 10:17-25 and Luke 6:40.
Jesus continues with His warning.
“And you will even be brought, and you will stand before governors and kings on account of My name.”
A scary thought, right? Having to stand before governors and kings, those who have the authority to punish and imprison us, to defend ourselves and our faith.
But think about it! Standing before governors and kings. Wow! What a platform to proclaim the name of Jesus and the glorious Gospel of our Savior!
“But it will lead to an opportunity for your testimony to them, and to the Gentiles.”
Opposition, persecution and tribulation ultimately are to be seen as an opportunity, a megaphone for our testimony.
And what a promise Jesus gives for those who are handed the megaphone of tribulation.
“And when they arrest you, and whenever they deliver you up, be settled, then, in your hearts. Do not be anxious, nor premeditated beforehand about how or what you are to reply, for it will be given you in that hour what you will speak. For you are not the speakers. But say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit of your Father that is speaking in you.”
We can be settled in our hearts. We can be at peace. We can be confident.
God will give us the words to speak. The Holy Spirit will put words in our mouth. The Spirit will speak through us.
We’re given the megaphone of persecution, and the thundering voice that comes booming out with authority and power is the very voice of the Spirit of God.
And then I love what Luke records in Luke 21:28!
“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Under attack. Persecuted. Beaten down. But don’t hang your head!
Shoulders up. Head high. If God is for us, who can be against us! Carpe diem. Seize the megaphone, step up on the platform of persecution, and boldly proclaim Christ.
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