Prayer Focus: Russia

Bible Reading: Matthew 10; 14; Mark 6:7-56; Luke 9:1-17; John 6

Scripture

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:16-25 ESV)

Observation

Jesus was open with his followers.  After calling The Twelve he immediately began to relay to them all the worst possible scenarios.  The reward; endure and you will be saved.  Which on the surface doesn’t sound like much, but we’ll learn through the rest of Jesus’ teachings that He gives us the strength to endure, the faith to believe, and the forgiveness we need so that we can spend an eternity with Him in heaven.  An eternity in heaven being infinitely superior to an eternity in hell.

Application

Kirk told us yesterday about Jesus calling his followers to die to themselves in order to follow Him.  Today Jesus says if you do follow me you’ll suffer.  It’s not good PR; it’s terrible marketing, just like Kirk said.  But I also can’t get past the camaraderie.  Whatever we go through, Jesus went through the same thing.  In John 15:15 Jesus calls us his friends.  In Matthew 12:49-50 he calls us his brothers and sisters.  He’s right there with us the whole way seeking His glory and our good.  We’re not His subjects to be commanded like pawns, we’re family.

The strange thing is that doesn’t really make the mission easier, but knowing that Jesus has your back (and the rest of you for that matter) and knowing that the reward is an eternity with God, that makes it worthwhile.  I pray we see it that way.

Prayer

Lord, sometimes I feel like I want to sit you down and say, “Do you realize how bad your marketing campaign is?”  But…obviously…you know better than I do.  You know what we need to hear above and beyond what we want to hear.  All the same, you have called us friends and family and you will carry us through this life.  Strengthen my faith to believe and trust in you to weather the storms and find the good.  Always remind me of your presence, so that when I suffer I’ll remember that you went through the same thing and you will carry me through it.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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