Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before
them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone
through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
Jesus prepares each of us for times of persecution. In Matthew 24:10 Jesus looks into the future and instructs we who believe that a time will come when all nations will hate people who follow Him. In our text today we are being taught what will happen when we are hated. We'll be handed over to the governing officials for punishment and death. Even our own family members will turn us in. Jesus instructs us to remember our purpose when this happens. We are to bear witness of Jesus Christ so people might believe the gospel and escape the coming judgment for sin - eternal torment. He knows we will worry about what to say as a witness. He tells us not to worry. The Holy Spirit will speak through us in our weakness. We are to endure all that sinful man does to us right to the end of our lives knowing we will be saved.
Please note when this begins to happen it is okay to flee to escape the persecution. Note also that what happened to Jesus can happen to us. Jesus died to finish the work He was given to do. We need to be prepared to do the same. The Apostle Paul left us an example to follow. Acts 20:24 "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
The abundant life is not freedom from persecution and difficult times. The abundant life is having peace, joy hope and love in the midst of the difficulties. Philippians 1:27-30 is a great word for us who are living in the last times. "27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have."
May the Lord help us finish our assignment even in the midst of persecution and difficult times while living a life characterized by love, joy, peace and hope.