Reading: Luke 21:1-38
Scripture: They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourself. For I will give you words and wisdom...and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. - Luke 21.12b-15a,16b-19.
Observations: In extremely graphic and metaphorical language, Jesus predicts the events that took place in 70 A.D. when the Roman army leveled Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. This passage also speaks to Jesus' followers who would be dispersed throughout the empire and the persecution that would come to them on account of his name. For proof of these words all one has to do is read Luke's second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. Those who would endure these times were to do so because they had a firm conviction that death is not the final word for the Christian. As Christ suffered and died in order to initiate the new resurrection life of God's kingdom, Jesus' followers would also endure suffering with the sure hope that the kingdom of Jesus would spread and that resurrection life awaited them.
Apply: What a great way to invite people to follow Jesus! "If you follow Jesus you may be put to death! But don't worry, he'll tell you what to say when they are stoning you." And yet, that is what Jesus was telling these people. And, more astounding, that's what they did. And because they did, the gospel took root all over the empire.
And we complain about giving our tithes and offerings.
Pray: Forgive me, Lord, for complaining about any small sacrifice I may make because I'm following you. May I joyfully give of myself in any way I can so that your kingdom may spread in my generation.