Scripture: Matthew 10:17-22
17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Meditation: What is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we want to share in Jesus' glory, then we, too, must take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps. Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world's way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk, Churchill offered his country blood, toil, sweat, and tears. This is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?
"Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will".
3 Yes, you are my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead me
and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities,
8 and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on you; let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19 O how abundant is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, and wrought for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the sons of men!
20 In the covert of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you hold them safe under your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city.