Bible Reference: Matthew 10:17-20
Translation: The Message (MSG)
Bible Text: 17-20 “Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn (call into question) your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
OBSERVATION: As Jesus prepared to send off His disciples, He prepared them for what they would encounter while on assignment. Our focal verses include some of the warnings they were given by the Master. Today men and women are still called to do the work of the Master, and some have and will encounter these same challenges/opportunities. Are you obediently following the call of Christ on your life – without hesitation?
APPLICATION: In calling and sending out His first disciples, Jesus took the time to warn them that they would not be entering into a world that is filled with love, compassion, caring, considerate individuals just waiting to accept their message and help them succeed in whatever they say, or attempt to do – just because they were going in the name of Jesus. Friends, these words were placed in the Bible, not just to make us feel sorry for what the early disciples went through as teachers and followers of our Lord. I am convinced that God wants us to be warned about what to expect when we follow in His, and their footsteps. I know that many of you may not understand, because all you ever hear about, is the graciousness of the people that your pastor ministers to, or the hospital folk that your Elders encounter when they visit the sick. May I remind my readers that there are foreign missionaries that are held captive in shipping containers, because they insisted on sharing the love, and teaching of the Word of God to people who have been sheltered from hearing the Good News, and experiencing the love of a Savior who actually sacrificed His life for the forgiveness of their sin. There are missionaries who are helping underground churches understand the Word of God sufficiently to then teach others who are hungry for the Word. They do this knowing that if they are caught by the authorities, they would be immediately killed. There are Christians who are picked on, beaten and imprisoned for spreading the goodness of their God to people in need. Notice that God is telling us that we are called to share the Good News with everyone, even the authorities, if we are caught. I have a friend who is in the prison system at this time, and while his family and friends mourn his absence in their lives, he is able to share with us how God is using him behind the bars, to reach the lost for Jesus! I’m sure that none of us would desire an audience with the authorities of some countries, and many of us would strongly refuse to share Christ with them if the opportunity presented itself, because many Christians refuse to even pray in public, or are terrified to say anything about their faith to a non-believer. Many are afraid that they would not know what to say, if presented with the opportunities like described in our verses. But look how God cleared up that fear for us in the very last part of the above verses! Friends, we have the Spirit of God living inside of us to lead us to the right folk, and to coach us on what to say. Are we doubting His ability when we refuse to go, or become frozen on what to say? Jesus commanded that we ‘GO’, the rest will be up to Him! Remember, we can’t save anyone – only God can, and He may even use us as a vital part of His team!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for aligning everything that contributed to me finding and accepting Your Son as my Savior. There will be many who will read this devotional today that will be impacted by Your Word today. Please strengthen Your church today and be a constant reminder to us that if we go in our strength, lead by our own desires, and using our own abilities, we might show our love for those we encounter, but unless we allow You into the equation, that’s all that we will achieve. Lord, we have nothing to gain, other than the joy of seeing our friends accept You as their Lord and Savior, so please help us to always seek You, and surrender our efforts to You so that You may do Your kingdom work in those that we touch. It’s about You oh Lord, and not of ourselves. May Your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. AMEN!