Faith Daily | 23 November 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p605
Stir up, we pray you, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people,
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 21: 12-19
12“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Graeme Curnow
REFLECTION on a passage where there is much to ponder:
Spirit-inspired Eloquence (Luke 21:14-15)
Jesus foreshadows that his disciples will be persecuted cruelly. He cautions them not to spend hours preparing eloquent speeches so that they can recite them, to their judges.
There's a wonderful promise for us, that in such circumstances our testimony will have such power that our opponents' false accusations or testimony won't be adequate. Christians may be condemned and even executed, but the testimony of Jesus will haunt our persecutors because of the Spirit-inspired words Christians will testify, under duress.
When you consider the history of the Christian church, the death of martyrs has sometimes been more powerful than their lives. Tertullian (early Christian theologian) said: "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church."
Betrayal by Family and Friends (Luke 21:16-17)
One of the saddest parts of a Christian’s suffering is having even those closest to us turn away from us. Currently, in some anti-Christian nations, relatives are being encouraged to turn in their Christian family members to the authorities, for punishment.
When our relatives reject us it hurts. But there is some comfort in the fact that Jesus' contemporaries rejected him, too. They didn't want to hear his truth, however lovingly expressed. "All men will hate you because of me," he says. It is on Jesus' behalf, that we must sometimes bear this kind of painful rejection.
Not a Hair Will Perish (Luke 21:18)
Jesus concludes this section of his teaching with a paradox:
Jesus says His followers be persecuted, condemned, and put to death, and not even a single strand of their hair will be destroyed. How can this be? Here, Jesus shifts from the physical realm to the spiritual. Even though His disciples may die physically, spiritually we are whole. Spiritually, we may die a martyr's death, but we enter into His presence in great glory. Spiritually we are okay - saved, rescued, redeemed, with Christ.
“In difficult times, one must believe that Jesus is before us and does not cease to accompany His disciples…. There is in fact, in our midst, Someone, who is stronger than evil. Pope Francis.
Father, we live in perilous times. Help us not to be weak and fearful when we are tested and persecuted for Your sake. Instead, let us be bold in our Lord. Give us peace. Give us faith- that we might bring glory and honour to you. Lord, for those Christians who right now are facing suffering, persecution, and death for Your name, let this be their finest hour.
In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen