The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.Matthew 10:24-31
In the past few years, we have seen more changes in freedoms in America and the world than we have for a very long time. This includes the hampering of religious freedoms. While I detest the very idea that religious freedoms are being stolen away from us more and more each moment, we must be sure to react as Christ’s disciples, not as dramatic actors on a reality tv show. In a word, we should react differently than others who are persecuted. We do not need to immediately cry out on social media or file lawsuits against the government. No, we need to do what Jesus told us to do.
The first thing we need to understand about the trying times is that we should not be surprised. The fact still remains that persecution is not pleasant but we should not be shocked but rather expecting it in the Lord’s service. Jesus said that the world persecutes Him and will do the same to His disciples.
Secondly, we are not to let these persecutions frighten us into silence. Jesus tells the disciples to not be ashamed or hide the truth in fear of ridicule. He reminds us that men may hurt the body but nothing can separate us from His love. We are valuable to Him and God the Father. So, even if we fall, we are assured that our persecution is a manifest token of our security in Christ.
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:2nd Thessalonians 1:4-5
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.Philippians 1:28
Satan and those who hate God will do just about anything to silence the influence of the gospel on society. They will lie and cheat. They will accuse falsely. But let us not forget that Jesus taught this in His first recorded sermon:
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.Matthew 5:10-12
So, rather than complain about persecution, we should consider it a blessing. Look how Peter and John reacted when they were beaten for preaching the truth:
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.Acts 5:40-42
With these things in mind, it is no wonder that Jesus sent them out by pairs for strength and encouragement!
To my faithful yoke-fellows in the gospel, take courage and preach on brothers!