By Doug Bell
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
22 ”And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved...
34 ”Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 ”For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 ”and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of hisownhousehold.’
Here Jesus is talking to the Apostles. They are being sent out as His (Jesus) Preachers and representatives. He tells them their life will be hard and many won’t accept their message. But, they were to continue to do it neverthelesss! In fact, for all but one of them (John), according to tradition, died a myrtars death.
Now, are we to persuade ourselves that this calling was “limited“ to the Apostles, and has no relevance to us today? Many say “yes”, and want to live their lives safely in their little cocoons with no friction at all. So, they will never bring up Christ, Sin, or Salvation with family or friends in their daily phone calls or conversations. This is really non Christian, and very cowardly; especially considering the lengths Jesus went to in order to bring us Salvation!
Do These verses apply to us today, also? Yes, Absolutely! Look again at the verses quoted above.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death...
35 ”For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 ”and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’.
Clearly, Matthew is saying these are the things all kinds of Christians can expect to experience.
So what should the Apostles (or even an ordinary Christian) should do if they are to experience this type of persecution?
Vs. 28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”. God is the Only person ever a Christian should’Fear,’
Remember Solomon in the Old Testament, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning wisdom”. Proverbs 1:7
And Jesus tell us in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
We too, are to be brave, choosing to be “Faithful“ to Christ, even at the expense of being persecuted. When we are held up to ridicule or worse we need to pray and ask that the Holy Spirit give us the strength and the words to speak God’s truth!
19 “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
20 “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
Let us look to the Apostles in how we should continue to Witness for Christ, even under persecution!