“First the gospel must be preached to all nations. When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 13:10-11
In Mark 13, Jesus gave a number of prophecies. He predicted the coming destruction of the temple, deception from false teachers and prophets, worldwide disasters, and distress for believers.
Jesus told the disciples that history would be marked by relentless trouble for those who believe in Him. This trouble will aggressively and progressively escalate for believers until He returns for His people at the Second Coming.
Believers will be subjected to persecution and possibly even martyrdom. Jesus did not sugar-coat this reality. However, despite the persecution, a believer’s calling is to lovingly share the gospel to the lost.
The church, Jesus’ bride, is called to preach the gospel to all nations and to live in the anticipation of Christ’s return.
Jesus, throughout His ministry, always stressed the sinners’ need for His willing sacrifice on the cross. It was the culmination of His ultimate obedience to His Father – to reconcile sinners to God. Jesus never compromised His message or His ministry.
Sacrificing Himself on the cross was not easy for Jesus. Although perfect in every way, Jesus prayed in anguish at the Garden of Gethsemane for God to release Him from the torture, agony, and burden of His coming crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). Yet, Jesus willingly proceeded.
Jesus triumphed at the cross because He looked beyond the immense torture and pain, never taking His eyes off the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2)
If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name because they do not know the one who sent me. – John 15:18-21
For believers, the only path to God’s glory is the one that Jesus walked.
To be identified with Jesus is to face persecution, to suffer, to be hated, ridiculed, and rejected, ostracized, mocked, and, possibly, killed.
No. It is not easy.
However, like Jesus, we look beyond the temporary persecution to the joy of an eternity spent in heaven with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
God’s promises and His eternal rewards are true whether we see them clearly or not.
Jesus is still King whether we can see His obvious work in our life or whether it is hidden and mysterious.
In our obedience to God, we will face difficulties.
In our service to God, we will face opposition.
In our faithfulness to God, we will face persecution.
Adversity, hatred, and persecution will be a constant battle that believers have to face.
However, believers can be assured that regardless of what happens here on earth, this is the worst that it will ever be for those who follow Jesus.
We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Just as Jesus looked past the cross to His eternal glory, so should we.
A believer’s life must be centered around our mission for God: to share the gospel with the lost, regardless of the pain and sacrifice it may cost us.
May we, as believers, be a people of godly conviction who refuse to compromise, are not swayed, and remain steadfast in our mission to lovingly share Jesus with the world.
When we are persecuted, knocked down, pressed, and squeezed on every side, may nothing pour out from our hearts, our actions, and our mouths but the Good News of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
Peace and grace to you,
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