17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, 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 up brother 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 he who endures to the end will be saved.
Meditation: What is the connection between Bethlehem and
Calvary - the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and
death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and
became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and
death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The
way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we
want to share in Jesus' glory, then we, too, must take up our
cross each day and follow in his footsteps.
The cost of following and serving the Lord Jesus Christ
Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world's way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk during World War II, Churchill offered his country "blood, toil, sweat, and tears." Suffering for the name of Christ is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?
3 Yes, you are my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities,
8 and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your merciful love!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Your Father speaks through you in every age, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"To be sure, we heard in that reading, 'But when they deliver you
up, do not be anxious how or what you are to speak... for it is
not you who are speaking but the Spirit of your Father who speaks
through you.' And he says in another place: 'Behold, I am with you
always, even to the end of the world' (Matthew 28:20). Does this
mean that the people who heard those words of the Lord would be
here until the end of the world? The Lord was referring, rather,
not only to those about to depart from this life but also to the
others, including us and those who would come after us in this
life. He saw everyone in his single body, and the words he spoke,
'I am with you even to the end of the world,' were heard by them
and by us too. And if we did not hear them then in our knowledge,
we heard them in his foreknowledge. Therefore, safe as sheep among
the wolves, let us keep the commandments of him who directs us.
And let us be 'innocent as doves but cautious as snakes' (Matthew
10:16). Innocent as doves that we may not harm anyone; cautious as
snakes that we may be careful of letting anyone harm us."
(excerpt from SERMON 64A.2)