It is difficult to ascertain whether the instruction of verses 19 and 20 were a special commission for the apostles, who enjoyed supernatural empowerment by the Spirit, or whether they continue to be applicable throughout all time.  I rather think the latter, for certainly the Spirit of God has not abandoned the suffering saints now that the apostles are gone.  We cannot claim a supernatural inspiration, such as we see in Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, or Paul before Festus and Agrippa.  Yet, I think it advisable for Christians who may be called upon to give an answer in court for their faith to heed these words of Christ.  Do not meditate, and try to work out an eloquent speech with which to defend our behavior, or the Gospel itself.  The Holy Spirit will work with us; He will give us the courage and the sagacity to say that which needs to be said for the honor of Christ’s Name.

Jesus borrows language from the prophecy of Micah to foretell the fierce opposition the disciples are bound to face for His Name’s sake.  The Gospel produces no ecumenical harmony, as some apostates have dreamed, but it divides between brother and brother, between father and child.  It causes those who were once close, and those who are bound by kinship, to hate each other.  The unconverted man cannot understand the transformation which turned his fellow sinner from a man of similar carnal appetite into a lover of Christ and holiness.  He senses that that very transformation stands as a condemnation against him, and therefore he hates the regenerated individual.  Thus it has been ever since Christ returned that in every nation there has existed hatred for the Gospel, and particularly for those saints who are trusting in Christ alone, apart from good works, and are striving to live holy lives to the honor of His Name.  But the promise of Christ to all such is, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.”  If we cannot endure, then were we ever truly lovers of Christ?  Clearly not.  The true believer will maintain faith in the Redeemer until his dying breath.  He will suffer persecution for Christ’s sake, being willing to surrender all, even his very life, rather than renounce the hope of eternal life.

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