Read Matthew 10:16-20. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
We 21st-century people are certainly beneficiaries of those who stood firm in their faith in the past.
I am struck by the warning Jesus is giving his disciples as described by the author of Matthew. There is no "if" you will be dragged before governors, but rather "when". This passage left me with profound sadness over the rejection of Jesus and his followers. That led to sadness over how people continue to react with threats instead of trying to understand a new point of view.
I appreciate how the author of the devotional reminds us that a relationship with the Spirit can facilitate a non-threatening reaction to a tense situation. That tempers my sadness with hopefulness.
Thank you for that insight, Amy. I agree, we 21-st century people have it much easier than the early Christians--well, at least 21-st century Americans. I have heard that in some countries, there is still "official" persecution of Christians. I am, once again, grateful for my surroundings.
There is a lot to be sad about in the story of Jesus and His early followers. Do you ever think "If only . . . " about those situations? I know I do.
I like that you mention hope to temper your sadness. Hope is powerful. I believe it has helped many people survive unthinkable trials throughout the ages because they were looking ahead to what could be.
I must say that I am grateful to live in a society in which I am not likely to be flogged and dragged before governors and kings because of my Christian beliefs. At least, I feel like I am safe from that kind of persecution here in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, in 2021. Those verses make me feel added respect for the early disciples of the church. Those brave people put everything on the line due to their belief in Jesus.
I felt much more “at home” in the craft store of the devotional entry. Like the shopper, I have been known to spout off when I am angry . . . although probably not while in a craft store because of the calming presence of thread, yarn, and potential projects. I felt more of a connection with the author than the customer in this scenario.
I like to think I am willing to reach out to support my friends when they are angry and venting. But, when someone I don’t know is nearby and visibly upset about something, it feels safer to follow the author’s “unwritten policy . . . to keep quiet, offering a non-anxious presence rather than words that could further inflame.” I may silently pray for the person, but I am hesitant to reach out.
Perhaps in addition to writing letters to the paper, attending demonstrations for justice, and being involved in organizations that work for the good, our voices can take a public, yet personal, stand. Are we willing to speak out to strangers, not just with love through Christ, but also about Christ? That doesn’t sound like putting everything on the line, but it certainly sounds brave to me!