New Testament Journey Day 43.
Matthew 10:16-40. Jesus prepares the Disciples for persecution. This is a lot of scripture in this section so I encourage you to get your bible, download the bible app, and read for yourself. I will focus on a few of the verses over the next couple of days. Let’s start with vs. 16 – 20
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and as harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trail before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking – it will be the spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 16-20
Can you imagine leaving everything you have to follow Jesus and then He tells you “Oh yeah, you are going to be beaten, flogged, and thrown in jail..” I don’t know too many people today who would say “yes! Sign me up! Send me Lord!” If we’re being honest, most of us would’ve tucked tail and ran. We often say “Send me Lord” but we have a list of caveats around it… and as long as it fits in our agenda… as long as I’m not uncomfortable… as long as it’s something “I” want to do…oh, and don’t push me out of my comfort zone. Is that really being used of God? I’m not saying we have to beaten or flogged (But one day we may be as Christians. There are people in other countries who lose their life to stand firm in their faith. We think that just because it’s not happening in America, it’s not happening. Well, it is. And if this country doesn’t repent and turn back to God – it may be closer than you think to being on our soil.)
We have to be more like the disciples to make a difference. We have to be willing to speak kindly but boldly, even if it means going against what’s “popular” to speak the truth.
**For the disciples, the opposition of the Pharisees would be like ravaging wolves. Their only hope would be to look to their Shepherd for protection. We may face similar hostility. Like the disciples, we are not to be sheeplike in our attitude but sensible and prudent. We are not to be gullible pawns, but neither are we to be deceitful connivers. We must find a balance between wisdom and vulnerability to accomplish God’s work.
Later the disciples experienced these hardships, not only from without (governments, courts) but from within (friends, family). Living for God often brings on persecution, but with it comes the opportunity to tell the Good News of salvation. In times or persecution, we can be confident because Jesus has “overcome the world.” And those who endure to the end will be saved!
Jesus told the disciples that when arrested for preaching the Good News, they should not worry about what to say in their defense – God’s spirit would speak through them. This promise was fulfilled in Acts 4:8-14 and elsewhere. Some mistakenly think this means we don’t have to prepare to present the Good News because God will take care of everything. Scripture teaches, however, that we are to make carefully prepared, thoughtful statements (Colossians 4:6). Jesus is not saying stop preparing, he’s saying stop worrying!
****Taken from the life application study bible