Matthew 10 begins with Jesus sending the 12 disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. After instructing them on how to act, he transitions to warning them of the dangers they will face.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:16-18 ESV
Jesus’ warning of persecution rings just as true for many Christians today as it did to his disciples and the other early Christians when the they were seized and killed for their beliefs. However, God promises that He will be with me through all trials and persecution I may face.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. And 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? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26,28-29, 32 ESV
Jesus tells his disciples not to fear or bend to the will of those on earth who persecute or even kill them, but to instead fear God, who ultimately cares for them. God showed His power and care for the disciples when He poured His Spirit upon them at Pentecost, the event of which seems to be foreshadowed in Joel Chapter 4.
“And it shall come to pass afterword, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29 ESV
Dear God, thank you for sending your Spirit to strengthen me. Thank you for reminding me that I should not fear persecution but should instead trust in You for You alone can save me. Please help me trust in You and look to You for guidance. In Your Holy Name, Amen.