Mark 13:1-13; 1 Kings 6; Hosea 8
One of my professors made the claim that the problem with Christians is that no one wants to kill them anymore. He might even add that no one even wants to arrest them. That holds true at least in the United States. In other countries around the world followers of Christ undergo arrest, beatings, imprisonment, torture and death for following the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ can be the most amazing news to those ready to hear it; it can be the most maddening news to those who would oppose it.
The disciples wanted to know about the end times. That is a common query amongst many different religious groups. Most groups believe that the end times will come and vindicate those who follow that belief. When Jesus was asked, He turned the question around on the disciples. He discussed all those things that most people associate with the end of days and told them that those signs were nothing more than birth pangs…maybe even false labor. Then He reminded them that whatever the time; whatever the season; whatever the signs – they were to preach the gospel. Then He made a pointed comment that Christians seem to want to ignore: “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Whenever you are arrested. He didn’t say “if,” or “it may happen that.” Being arrested was, in that time, normative for followers of Christ. The message of Jesus Christ is so contrary to culture that it’s maddening affects on culture should cause those opposed to the gospel to want to deal with us through the legal system or on their own. The gospel is not stymied by arrest or persecution – it flourishes as people see the courage that Jesus gives. The gospel is more likely to be stymied by failure to tell people of the love of Jesus, the hope of forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.
One question I need to ask myself is why do people merely tolerate me? They should either love me and my message or they should be so enraged that they want to do something about it. Is it because I live in a culture that tolerates anything and everything or is it because I don’t speak out as I should? Lord, let my life and my words so exemplify Your gospel that others are driven to love You or to hate me. Never let me be obnoxious; always let me be persistent in sharing Your good news.