January 25th, 2011 11:10 PM
Matthew 10: 16 - 22 -
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Today, the Church commenorates the conversion of Paul found in Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22. Since Paul/Saul was known for his persecution of Christians this passage from Matthew can give a picutre of life as a new Christian during the time of Saul. These Christians were presented not just before fellow Jews in the synogues, but also before the Roman officials. Jesus was warning them that life in the kingdom would have joy but also persecution. But they were to take heart in that they would not be left alone, they would have the Holy Spirit with them, giving them the worlds that they would need in their defense.
To personalize this [since most North American Christians probably won't experience this level of persecution], we can remember that persecution then and now also includes persecution by family members. I think of the beatitudes in which it is said blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the poor in spirit, etc these go against the North American culture even within the church. I've encountered persecution [albeit in a much lesser degree than what the Persecuted Church encounters through beatings, amputations, jail time, etc but still it happens]. I have been told by collegues that there is something weak and contemptable about me showing mercy to former students, being utterly dependant on God as if I am wasting his time and seeking peace insted of attacking political opponents. But as Jesus told his hearers in Matthew, what matters is sticking with what I know and relying on him when others around me don't understand. There is joy is knowing I am on the right track even if it doesn't seem so at the time
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a
Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov