Being Handed Over to Death

The more we read on into the teachings of Jesus, the more His words seem to be directed towards us.  Certainly He was instructing His followers and disciples, but the more we listen, the stronger His message falls on our ears.  It is like He is looking directly to us and calling each one by name and encouraging us forward in our pursuit of Him.

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Shipwreck By George Wonenberg

In Matthew 10 Jesus was giving vital instructions to those He sent out, but we too hear His words booming in our hearts.  Our Savior is telling you and I what things are like today and what our real situation is.

And brother shall deliver up brother to death and the father the child.  Matthew 10:21 (ASV)

The church I grew up in held the belief strongly that there was a day coming where we would be persecuted on a global scale. They taught that the true remnant of Christ would be hunted down by governments and authorities and we would all have to go into hiding.

Many people may have interpreted the scriptures in this way but perhaps such a black and white opinion could rob us of some healthy instruction for today.  You see, our eternal fate never rests on some future event or day.  What we are doing and thinking right now at this moment is where our fate is hinged.

There is a problem with human interpretation where fallen beings are the ones who so proudly boast on our powers of mental deduction of the scriptures.   When we read into the future and say that one day, this or that is going to happen, we put off the urgency of the moment.  Somewhere deep inside we take a deep sigh of relief that whatever the importance of that future event is, we are not living it right now.  We relax a little.

But for sure our Lord did not intend for us to ever lose the urgency of any instruction He gave.

Jesus needs us to understand that His words were meant to work their healing inside our hearts the moment we hear them.  We should always resist any temptation from our fallen natures to defer any and all instruction to any other time than right here and right now.  If somehow we are wrong in our interpretations, it will go better for us that we were overly cautious and driven closer to Him sooner.

Therefore, in Matthew 10 verses 21 through 42, when Jesus describes what will happen for His followers, we need to attempt to draw any real healing we can for our current situation.  When He says that even family will put family in danger let us open our ears.

We do not need to sit patiently waiting for some distant future day where all the stars line up and prophecy is fulfilled.  Unknowingly we might be missing the boat entirely and lose that vital instruction due to our stubborn pride and exclusive interpretation.

It may be true that we will one day be hunted down; this is not for you or I to decide.  We could waste a lot of precious time in arguing our heated opinions.  But it is also true that when a believer has made a choice to follow Jesus today, many times those who are closest to that lamb of God do not see things in the same way.  Even a simple scoff at your faith and devotion to Jesus is a strike against the cheek.

If your brother or your father does not see the need for you to get all worked up about Jesus and go changing your life to follow after Him, they will for sure injure you in some way by their difference of opinion.  It hurts to find something so precious to your soul like Jesus to set your heart after, and then learn that the ones you love just cannot see what all the fuss is about.

You have found the center of your universe, the reason for living and your lifelong goal, but the ones you care the most about have not seen this same vision.  The sensation that follows is crushing, and many a would-be believer has fallen away from following Jesus because they were not able to adjust themselves correctly to standing against the way of thinking of those around them.  The result is like being handed over to be killed, but this death is infinitely more fatal.

So let us try today to make these words of Jesus work some special healing.  Let us approach Him and ask Him to show us how crucial and vital His words are for us in this very moment.  May we resist the urge to put anything off so that we feel more comfortable with our situation right now.  And let us place just a little more faith in our Savior and His words.

Take the opportunity the Lord gives you today to draw a little closer, to depend less on your own interpretations or the sentiments of those around you.  Make only Jesus be the important thing in your day.  Because Jesus Himself says that only the ones that endure to the end will be saved.  Let us not miss the opportunity we have right now for any reason under the sun.

When we know through true experience that we are found in Him, then we will be strong enough to be betrayed by even the closest loved one.  Pray with me that we will find that strength in Him today.

Amen

Scott W

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