It was a difficult day for the Lord. The crowds were great, the pharisees had committed to getting rid of Jesus and so at every turn Jesus had to confront the pressure of the crowds and attacks of the pharisees. Still during the chaos and craziness, Jesus stops to give perspective on what lay ahead. First, Jesus warned His followers to be real and transparent. He reminded them that the religious leaders looked great on the outside, but their hypocrisy is what pervaded their lives. They lived as if it was all hidden, but God sees it all and will reveal it.
Next, Jesus gave them a stark perspective–they need not worry about those that would threaten death or injury, that is all they have. The one to fear is the one that controls what comes after death. In short, trust God that controls your eternity, not men that control this short present time. Remember, Jesus said, God cares for grass and sparrows, how much more will He care for His chosen. So, when you are persecuted, Jesus warned, do not be fearful–God’s spirit will encourage and direct you. Jesus knew the time had come when the dynamic had changed from Rockstar to savior. His mission was now to prepare the Disciples to change the world. He was transparent, He wanted them to know that things were going to be difficult. As such, they needed to be ready to face what was coming.
The same holds true today. As a Church, we have enjoyed peaceful worship and unfettered access to God’s Word, His leadership, His community, and His protection. The time is coming, however, where that will no longer be the case. In this time, we see constant pushes to restrict worship and the free practice of our faith. Jesus is reminding us, as He did His guys, we need not worry about persecution, all they can do is kill our bodies.
We need to focus upon eternity, and on our walk with God–not on those who would deny us our right to worship freely. It is no small thing to realize that the world hates people of faith. As the world walks away from God, we must expect His withdrawing His hand of protection, and we must be ready to defend our faith with all we have and are. In that, however, we can trust God to provide what we need at any given moment. Look at the sparrows and the flowers–right?!!
God Bless You
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”