Be Ready for Trouble, But Don’t Be Afraid

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of you Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs on your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 10:16-33

Ministering isn’t easy. Nor is it particularly fun. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my attempts to share the Gospel, it’s that “they” really are like wolves. And we have it easy these days, with Freedom of Religion. We probably won’t be put to death by our brothers for our faith. But for the disciples this was literally dangerous. Most of the disciples were martyred for their teachings.

And yet, Jesus tells them not to be afraid. Their fate is in God’s hands. God has a plan for them to the point that He will literally put the words He wants them to say in their mouths when they are persecuted. God is speaking through them, just as God speaks through us. They have nothing to fear.

Besides, Jesus says, if they do hurt you, it’s better to be killed teaching the Word, for you will live forever in Heaven. And if you were to save your body by denying Christ, you will suffer for all eternity. Which is worse?

So, in summary, some people WILL hate you. That’s okay. MOVE ON to someone who will be more receptive. Don’t waste all your life trying to help one person, and miss the opportunity to help hundreds. If they do persecute you, don’t fear. It’s all a part of God’s plan for you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep spreading the Word.

Finally, a paraphrase of verse 24-25 (“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!”), because I didn’t understand it in my translation: “If they hate ME, Jesus, the Son of God, they are definitely going to hate YOU, lowly fishermen and tax collectors, even more.”

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