Suffering for the Gospel (Luke 21:5-38)

 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.  (Luke 21:10-19)

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:34-36)

Learn it:

            This section is packed full of a lot of things and we could talk a lot about end times prophecy in it.  But I’m not going to.  Jesus is warning those living in Jerusalem that there is a time of judgment coming soon.  This warning also doubles as a warning to us as believers about the second coming of Jesus Christ.  He gives big warnings about wars and earthquakes but before all of that, we will face persecution.  This is a promise Jesus is giving his followers that apply to us.  People will not like the message we are sharing and even our closest friends and relatives will be against us.  Even though all of that is happening we should not be afraid.  We should stand firm knowing that true life awaits us. 

            In light the impending persecution we should not be stressed out or turn to other things for comfort (verse 34).  We should not be consumed with a life of fear.  We must live a life of confidence, hope, and strength knowing that we are overcomers.  We do that by watching and praying that we may be able to escape what is ahead of us. 

Live it:

            Persecution of believers is something that is promised to believers.  What is persecution?  It is experiencing some form of hostility for holding a certain belief.  It can come in many different forms as mild as being ignored to more extreme as imprisonment.  In our minds, these can cause us great stress because we do not want to experience pain or suffering.  Jesus is telling us when we experience suffering, we should not be afraid of what we will say because the Holy Spirit will be with us and will give us the words to say.  The apostle Paul goes a step further saying we should rejoice that we are counted worthy of suffering for the gospel.  We are called to live a life in the manner of Christ.  Christ suffered so we should suffer for his glory.  We should be excited to share the gospel with people and it may go well, or it may lead to some awkwardness.  Either way, God will be glorified, and He will be with us.  How can you suffer for the glory of God today? 

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