Saturday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 10:24-33

Our Father’s Care Even in the Midst of Persecution

We continue our theme from yesterday about the difficulties of living in the world as a Christian.  Jesus makes it clear that if they hated him, they will hate us.  We must understand that the world is not our home, that the world is not our friend.  The First Epistle of John has many verses that say as much: “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (5:19); and “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (2:15); and finally, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you” (3:13).

But this gives us no reason to slack: “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”  There was a time in Jesus’ ministry when he spoke privately to his disciples, but the day would come when they must speak openly.  We too read His word and must be prudent in our witnessing (“Do not cast your pearls before swine,” Matthew 7:6).  However, the day may come when we must present the word as it is written, and as we read yesterday, we must say a little prayer at that moment and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us.  And we are to remember that we are not to fear the person standing before us who can take our job or do us financial harm or even kill us, but to fear Him who can cast both body and soul into hell.  And if we refuse to acknowledge Christ before others, he will refuse to acknowledge us before the Father.  Do these words sound hard?  Fear not.  Our Lord gives us great and precious promises to help us on our journey: Not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s notice, and the very hairs of our head are numbered.  We must look beyond the moment and to the reward that follows.

There was an aged bishop named Polycarp at the beginning of the second century.  The Roman officers dragged him into the arena.  Many had already died, the pagans chanting, “Well washed, well washed,” referring to “baptism” when the Christians were slain in bloody fashion.  The Roman officer said, “Renounce Christ.”  Polycarp said that he had served him over eighty years and wasn’t going to forsake him now.  He then told Polycarp to renounce the atheists (that’s what they called Christians for not worshiping the Roman gods).  Polycarp looked around at the crowd and said, “Away with the atheists!”  The officer said, “I have fire.”  Polycarp responded that his fire lasted only a few moments, but the fire of hell lasted for all eternity.  So they set the fire – and it made an arch around the saint and onlookers said that he seemed as gold burning in a furnace.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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