Galileans tended to be rough, combative men, ready to take up arms in war or insurrection if opportunity beckoned.  And yet Jesus gives no space for such fleshly activities, but rather sends them forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Such a picture is not likely to inspire dauntless courage, and yet it is the same message given to all true disciples.  Christ’s true religion knows nothing of warlike popes, or Christian armies going forth to conquer the infidel, forcing the pagans to undergo baptism, thereby compelling them into the kingdom.  Such alleged Christians are not wise as serpents, and certainly not harmless as doves.  The true Christian messenger is one who goes forth with only one weapon in his hand, that being the Gospel.  He knows that he will face the wrath of an ungodly world, but he is willing to brave it for Christ’s sake.  Instead of securing political and military backing, he hears Christ’s prophetic words, warning him to beware of men, because “they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues…”  Yes, even the religious will persecute the humble servant of Christ!  Thus the Jews did to the Christians, and thus the Roman establishment has long done to anyone who dares preach that salvation is by faith in Christ alone, not in submission to the holy father.

This prophecy of Christ’s, which would be fulfilled after His resurrection, that the disciples would face persecution from both Jew and Gentile, has held true not for them only, but for thousands of godly ministers throughout the ages who have boldly proclaimed the Gospel message to a hostile world.  In our generation, hostility abounds again, and we too may expect to be mistreated and persecuted, not just by a pagan government, but by churches which name the Name of Christ, but know nothing of the power of godliness.

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