“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Mat. 10:16 NIV
[What chance do sheep have among wolves?]
“They will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings… when they arrest you…” 10:17-19
[Not “if they arrest you…,” “when they arrest you…”]
“Brother will betray brother to death… Children will…have [their parents] put to death. All men will hate you because of me… When you are persecuted in one place flee to another…” 10:21-23
[“When you are persecuted…,” not “If…”]
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul… Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” 10:28, 32
Clearly “confessing” Christ will be the most demanding challenge these men will face in their entire lives. Confessing Christ will be the single greatest challenge in your life as a Christian believer. But how does this apply to us?
Since the time of Christ there has been a long and noble line of Christians who have laid down their lives for Jesus. Have you ever read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs? Men and women thrown to lions, burned at the stake, enduring unspeakable suffering because they confessed Christ.
Some of you have been disowned by your own family or cut out of a will because you confess Christ. Others have suffered in different ways. But for most of us, confessing Christ does not put us in imminent danger. You likely have never been beaten up or imprisoned for your faith.
Don’t think you’re doing what Jesus says here simply because you call yourself a Christian. The hardest moments of our lives will be our greatest opportunity to confess Jesus.
Have you ever considered what it has cost others to confess Christ throughout the generations? Consider reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or Hebrews 11.