We are sitting with Jesus and His disciples on the Mount of Olives. He is telling them of the things to come. Jesus addresses the change happening on a global scale first but then He speaks of what will happen to His disciples personally. Jesus finishes our section today with a promise to care for those who endure persecution for His name’s sake.
We looked at Jesus prophecies about the future in both Matthew and Mark. From Matthew’s gospel we drew the blog, “Signs of the End of the Age.” In the blog, “The End is Coming”, from Mark looked at the personal persecution Jesus was predicting for His disciples. Today I feel compelled to look at the why for the persecution promised by Jesus.
Jesus told His disciples that before all the earthquakes and famines and such that they would face personal persecution. “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake” (verse 12). Jesus pulled no punches here. He told His disciples that they WOULD face these things, not that they might or that other people would.
Why Jesus? These men had been following You for three and a half years. Hadn’t they proved their loyalty already? We know the answer to that question. Just a few short days after this discussion all of His disciples would leave Him. But He would not hold that against them. So why were they going to encounter this kind of treatment.
Jesus gave the answer in His next statement. “This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (verse 13). Jesus even goes so far as to tell them that the Holy Spirit would be doing the talking for them. Jesus and the Holy Spirit were presenting Jesus’ disciples a way into some of the places no ordinary citizen could go. Paul would be a prime example of this when he visited Caesar’s palace in Rome. By enduring the pain and suffering they were able to touch hearts and minds previously inaccessible. Just think how deeply the seeds got planted in the guards hearts as they guarded Peter, Paul and Silas.
God uses our circumstances for His good. He didn’t cause the disciples to be tortured or thrown into prison but He knew it was going to happen and He knew how to capitalize on the opportunity that came with it. He sent His words deep into enemy territory.
Jesus also promised that when the time came that the Holy Spirit Himself would provide them with exactly want to say. God ensured that His word reached even the unreachable. What an honor that must have been.
Thank You Father that nothing we go through is wasted. Thank You for Your promise to stand with us in those tough times too. Please turn my tragedies into triumphs for you. Thank You too that I have never faced persecution on the level the disciples did. I pray I would be able to stand and declare Your word if I ever did. I’M NOT ASKING FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEST IT OUT though. Help me be faithful where I am and in what I do face. Thank You for opening doors for me to walk through. I love You Lord and want to make You proud of me. Not proud of my accomplishments, but proud that I call You my Lord and Savior and that I lean into You with all my might.