THIS WEEK: Jesus’ Teaching on his 2nd Coming!
Can I be honest with you? I wish Jesus didn’t say this.
Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
I wish Jesus would have said, “If you have faith in me, you will have no problems, people will love you and life will be great while you wait for me to return.” I wish he did.
But he didn’t.
Jesus is very real with us today. He warns us that Satan is going to throw every effort he can muster to get us to walk away from Jesus and deny our faith. Nothing would please him more.
Jesus is real with us today to point out that the persecution we may go through pales in comparison to what is waiting for those that persevere and remain faithful. “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Satan tried the same tactics on Jesus himself. He threw the persecution of the Pharisees. He riled up hatred against him. Many loved Jesus’ miracles, but walked away from him when the commitment got to high. Friends betrayed him. Religious teachers looked pious but were teaching contrary to the message of the Messiah. By the end of his earthly life, the love of most toward him had grown cold.
If this is what the teacher endured, so will his students.
So Jesus is real with us, not to frighten us, but to strengthen us.
When you know what you are facing, you can better be prepared and better endure. How so?
If I know people will hate me simply because I am connected with Jesus, I can realize what Jesus told me:
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
If I know false prophets will appear and try to deceive me away from grace, I can be ready. As the Apostle John wrote:
1 John 4:1-3 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
If I know that wickedness will increase and love will decrease, I will not be surprised, but love anyway.
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor z and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Jesus tells me I will be persecuted, so when I am I will stand firm, remaining faithful to the Lord Jesus. Be ready. You will be persecuted as a follower of Jesus. But don’t give up. Remember the promise:
Revelation2 :10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Apply: While persecution in our country is relatively minimal today, how does these words of Jesus help you be prepared for the persecution that does and will exist?
Prayer: Keep me faithful to you Lord, to the point of death. Give me the crown of life you have promised through Jesus Christ! AMEN.