JESUS said to his Apostles: “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
THE SPIRIT… SPEAKING THROUGH YOU. Jesus anticipates that, as he is opposed by many in his ministry, so his disciples will in turn witness to him. As Jesus has to contend with those who accuse him of blasphemy, of being a lawbreaker, so his disciples should expect to be questioned and denounced. Even their own household and kinsmen will be their accusers. But Jesus assures them that they need not worry because the Spirit will be speaking in them in their defense. They only need to endure to the end. They should be open to leave the place of persecution if they could.
Nowadays, followers of Jesus who take their vocation seriously are likely to be experiencing persecution from those whom they oppose. In the midst of all this, believers can feel threatened and discouraged. But there are some who, emboldened by Jesus’ words, stand fast and hold their ground to oppose evil and answer their accusers. And some may give up their lives in the process.
Do opposition and death threat
dishearten us in our public witness to the truth
of the Gospel of Jesus? Can we trust in the power
of the Holy Spirit to speak through us?
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.