“I tell you the truth…” Matthew 10:23
Before sending His disciples out to preach of God’s Kingdom (v.7), Jesus gave them instructions and warnings. In His concluding remarks to His disciples, Jesus spoke of a time when sons will have to stand against their fathers, and daughters against their mothers; a time when one’s enemies will be the members of one’s own household (vv. 34-37). Since there is no mention of the disciples being persecuted on this particular assignment, we may conclude that Jesus’ words are best understood through the eyes of things that were yet to come.
This section of scripture carries a different overtone than the practical instructions Jesus had been sharing. Thus, it can be concluded that The Savior (the God-man, and God is present in the past, present, and future; HE is not limited by time) was instructing future disciples (which could very likely be Believers of current history). Matthew 10:22 hints at global persecution of Christ-followers who will be carrying the message of the Gospel throughout the world, and will not have finished their task before Christ returns (v.23).
The eternal truth we discover here is Jesus being The Conquering King and the One Who will reign forever in Heaven. When Jesus referred to The Son of Man coming, He was speaking of the second Advent – the return of Christ after His crucifixion and resurrection. It is the second Advent when His Kingdom will be permanently established after all things are remade and all things become as new (Read Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Zacharia 14:4; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2; Revelation 21:1-8).
This eternal truth gives the Believer assurance of Heaven, as well as courage to endure the world’s rejection of Christ and His righteousness. Jesus provoked His followers to tell others about Him and His Kingdom, and to not shrink back from doing so when threatened by those who rise up against them. Jesus then even prepared Christ-followers through history to not fear those who can kill the body more than The One Who can destroy both body and soul in hell (vv.26-28). He further asserted:
“Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.” (vv.32-33)
We could very well be living in the chapter of history Jesus described: God’s servants being as sheep in the midst of wolves; Christians needing to be courageous to the end, while maintaining a tender heart toward the lost. The opposition Christians face today are from:
organized religion (v.17);
the government (v.18); and
Religious systems have always persecuted true followers of Christ. Before Paul’s conversion, he led in the Jewish efforts around Jerusalem to stone Christians to death (read about the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr in Acts 7:58). Religious systems teach how one ‘earns’ or works his/her way to heaven. Christ taught the prerequisite to heaven’s eternity is faith in Him. Christ taught that the world would oppose those who would follow Him, just as the world rejected Him. In contemporary religious practice, a philosophy has crept into church networks which embrace a religious system instead of the person of Jesus Christ.
Governments around the world today reject Christianity and its message of eternal life through Christ. In many countries, it is illegal to preach Christ, meet as a church for worship, or establish Christian sponsored efforts to start hospitals and schools. Revelation 13 describes a time that is quickly coming, when the people of the world will be forced to worship the anti-Christ, a person who will be globally recognized and esteemed as the leader and authority of religion, economics, and government. This person will use all three institutions to marginalize and persecute Christians.
The home and family are coming under increasing attack, leading to a decay of family love and loyalty, as well as to the value of human life. Divorce in America remains quite high, as marriage is considered a disposable relationship of convenience instead of a covenant requiring character development.
The ancient doors of the home, government, and faith practice were all established by God, and in these last days, these three institutions will increasingly oppose anything that hints at following Christ as Lord. It is never too late to pray for a great awakening to happen in our day, that the ancient doors would be opened wide:
“…Open wide, you gates. Open up, you ancient doors.
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, who is strong and mighty.
The Lord, who is mighty in battle.
Open wide, you gates. Open wide, you ancient doors.
Then the King of glory will come in.” (Psalm 24:7-9)
Have a blessed day…