But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you,
delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought
before kings and rulers, for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for
a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before
what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all
your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist. And ye shall be
betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends;
and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be
hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not a hair of your
head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.
Besides the signs that we mentioned yesterday, there is a sign that is greater
than all the rest: persecution will come. The Lord Jesus speaks about this in
verse twelve, using images that seem more reminiscent of the times during
which He lived. Why is that? For one thing, do you remember the occasion
when the Lord began to speak of the end times? He foretold that the temple
would be totally destroyed; this took place during the Roman oppression
in 70 A.D. On the one hand, the Lord Jesus was speaking about this actual
event; at the same time He was talking about the signs leading up to His
final return. Those two things are so intimately bound together that the
Lord spoke to His disciples about them as if they were one event. We can
compare this to looking across a long distance from a mountaintop. You
see many mountain ridges that seem to form one mountain range, yet the
mountains are many kilometers apart.
However, we must not think that anything happens outside God’s control.
He rules over everything. He protects His people so not a hair falls from
their heads without His permission. That is comforting, also when family
members begin to shun you. Moreover, the Lord will ensure that His people
will be strengthened to bear witness before the rulers of this world. He will
put the words in their mouths to be faithful to Him.
If you know the Lord as your Saviour, you do not need to be afraid. His
mighty hand will protect you, even if you have to endure trials. He will keep
you in order to witness of His power and grace. How good and merciful the
Lord truly is!
Thought: Are people persecuted for their faith today? Does this happen in
Psalter 87:3 (based on Psalm 33)
Our hope is on Jehovah stayed, In Him our hearts are joyful made,
Our help and shield is He;
Our trust is in His holy Name, Thy mercy, Lord, in faith we claim,
As we have hoped in Thee.