Our scripture for the week is Luke 21:5-19.
“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
Jesus has told us before that it won’t be easy to follow Him. In the Beatitudes we are taught “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:10-11) We know that there will be opposition from those who do not know the Messiah.
Jesus also tells us that we need not worry about how to defend ourselves, that He will give us the words that need to be said. Most of us don’t know what it is like to be persecuted for our faith, but there are still places in the world where it is dangerous to be a follower of Jesus. However, in spite of the threat of even death, faith persists.
Those of us who enjoy religious freedom must never take it lightly. We must stand ready to offer the testimony Jesus will give us when challenged and pray for our brothers and sisters who suffer persecution. While the Lord needs no help from us, we need Him and we need each other.
Mighty God, help us to be strong in the faith and ready to share Your love with the world. Use us as You will to spread the Gospel to everyone. Amen.