Note: If you are reading along in the New Testament with me, today’s chapter is Mark 13.
In life, there will be trouble. That’s a tough way to start a devo isn’t it? But that is what Jesus tells his disciples in Mark 13.
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
– Mark 13:9–11
Those who have trusted Jesus have been given a new life. This new life operates under the rule and reign of Jesus. But this world rejects the rule of Jesus. So Christians should expect trouble in our world. We serve a different king. This is a tough truth! But there is hope.
We’ll take a look at the hope Jesus gives in just a minute, but first I want to think about two bad responses we could have to the reality that the world is against Christ and his church. First, we could despair. We could just give up and say, “It will be too hard to passionately pursue Jesus, so I will live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church to try to keep both happy.” The second mistake we could make is to fight the world using the worlds tactics. We can fortress ourselves off from those bad people out there. Then when we do interact with the world, we do it through picket signs, scathing social media posts and jeering.
This is not what Jesus calls us to! There are two truths that Jesus gives us to give us hope and direction in a world that is opposed to him.
- The Gospel must be proclaimed to all nations (v.10). This gives us hope! Jesus will accomplish what “must” happen through his church. This also guides our warfare. We do not battle against flesh and blood, but we go out with the gospel of peace. We are ambassadors for the grace of God, declaring to the world that in Jesus, our sins are not being count against us! This means we are hopeful and gracious people in the midst of hard times.
- The Holy Spirit will speak on our behalf (v. 11). As we stand firm against the world, while also seeking to win the world with the gospel, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit that lives in us as the assurance of our salvation will give us the words we need to shine the light of the gospel into the world. Not only that, he will work in the hearts of those God is calling out of darkness so that they can see the light of the gospel. The church is Jesus plan for sending out the gospel, but we are not alone! The Spirit is at work among us as we go out in Jesus name.
Let’s not be surprised when the world is against us. If people are against you because of Christ, it is because they are blind to how wonderful he is. So let’s be people who are focused on the mission of pointing everyone to Jesus and dependent on the Spirit who speaks The Gospel through us!