THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
Luke 21:12-19 (NIV) “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.13 And so you will bear testimony to me.14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.”
THOUGHTS FROM RICH
Most of us enjoy the fun parts of life but we are quick to express the parts we don’t like; e.g.: sickness, stress, hunger, or frustration. Some express it outwardly; others inwardly. The author of Luke’s gospel was a Gentile convert, the only non-Jewish author of a Bible book. His writings were aimed at being concise; accurate without anything being left out of the account of Jesus’ life. He documented the challenging accounts, as well as some that make you smile.
We see though in chapter 21 of Luke, the disciples are with Jesus and they ask Him point blank regarding the “End of the Age” in verse 7. “Teacher,” they asked, “When will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” He responded in verse 8, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and the ‘The time is near.’” All of us have felt the sting of deception before. Finding out we were duped meant someone was less than truthful.
When we know what is true, we can trust; we can live and operate in freedom. Jesus wanted these men, His disciples, to understand the truth that there is coming a day soon, “Where you will be attacked on account of my name.” He points out in verse 12 that before the end, “They will lay hands on you, they will persecute you.” Have you experienced that before for your faith in Christ? People that have mocked you, made fun of you, laughed at your expense because you would not participate in their sinful ways?
But look at where Jesus points them to “gain life.” We read in verse 13, “This will result in you being witnesses to them.” …to a lost and hurting world. He then says in verse 14 to, “Make up your mind not to worry,” …determine now, beforehand. How many times have we as adults had to determine ahead of time how we would respond to a situation or to another person? Will we stand on our faith in Christ? Will His word be the first response someone hears from us? Is that what will guide and direct our actions, or reactions?
Luke then finishes with this charge in verse 19, “By standing firm, you will gain life.” Will today be the day you are challenged to stand firm for your faith? Whether it is or is not, determine now that no matter what the circumstance is that you face today, tomorrow, or years from now, you are going to “gain life” through standing for your faith in Christ. Determine now that you are going to live each day as a healthy, life-giving model of His love for you and for others.