Preparing Us for Persecution

A student is not greater than his teacher. A servant is not above his master. The student shares his teacher’s fate. The servant shares his master’s! And since I, the master of the household, have been called ‘Satan,’ how much more will you! But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when the truth will be revealed: their secret plots will become public information.

“What I tell you now in the gloom, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, proclaim from the housetops!

“Don’t be afraid of those who can kill only your bodies—but can’t touch your souls! Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.

“If anyone publicly acknowledges me as his friend, I will openly acknowledge him as my friend before my Father in heaven. But if anyone publicly denies me, I will openly deny him before my Father in heaven.”

The Pharisees did, in fact, call Jesus “Satan” (see Matthew 9:34). Good is sometimes labeled evil. If Jesus, who is perfect, was called evil, his followers should expect that similar accusations will be directed at them. But those who endure will be vindicated (10:22).

Covered by God

Jesus said that God is aware of everything that happens, even to sparrows, and you are far more valuable to him than they are. You are so valuable that God sent his only Son to die for you (John 3:16). Because God places such value on you, you need never fear personal threats or difficult trials. These can’t shake God’s love or dislodge his Spirit from within you.

But this doesn’t mean that God will take away all your troubles (see Matthew 10:16). The real test of value is how well something holds up under the wear, tear, and abuse of everyday life. Those who stand up for Christ in spite of their troubles truly have lasting value and will receive great rewards (see Matthew 5:11-12). Despite your struggles and trials, remember that you are valuable to God and that he is making you more like Christ (Romans 8:29).

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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