“You yourselves must be on guard. You will be arrested and taken to court. You will be beaten in the synagogues; you will stand before rulers and kings for my sake to tell them the Good News”.
Mk 13:9 GNB
For Jesus, the most important consequence of the dangers and difficulties that lay ahead for the disciples was not the possibility and likelihood of physical suffering, but the opportunity it would give them to spread the gospel. Their presence would bring forth opposition and they would constantly get themselves into trouble .
Later, in Jerusalem itself, the apostle Paul saw the fulfilment of what Jesus was saying here. Hauled before the Roman governor and then King Agrippa, Paul told the court about the vision he had experienced on the road to Damascus. Eventually the king said of Paul’s witness to Jesus Christ, “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me” (Acts 26:28 EHP). The discipleship that awaited the Christian witnesses was not “tea-cup Christianity”. It was tough, hazardous, dangerous and difficult. It involved taking up a cross and following where Jesus had led. And one of the worst aspects of it was the bitter opposition which the Jews mounted against the apostles.
Plenty of Christian witnesses have faced official opposition in our day and generation. In some countries where Christianity is not the predominant faith Christians are persecuted. And sometimes they suffer martyrdom for their faith. It can be equally difficult in work places in apparently Christian countries where ridicule and opposition greet Christians who stand up to be counted. Some Christians are ostracized and even refused employment because of their faith. Consider your own situation and examine whether you are making a faithful witness to Christ.
Lord, raise up more courageous witnesses to the gospel.