|Paul before Felix and Drusilla - J.C.Weigel|
TO CHEW ON: "'But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them .... But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit'" Mark 13:9,11.
Jesus' prophetic words in Mark 13 always make me squirm a little. False Christs, wars and war rumors, earthquakes, famines, and troubles are bad enough but beatings and jail time for believers too?
However when I read this passage closely, it sinks in why—to give rulers and kings an opportunity to accept Jesus: "You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake for a testimony to them." Believers will be brought before these government officials to tell their stories and relay the good news that Jesus died for them too.
[Testimony (marturion) means proof, evidence, witness, proclamation of personal experience. Compare "martyr" and "martyrology" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Bible, p. 1837.]
Don't you hear Jesus' heart beating with love for all people, His attitude of "...not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9)? He wants to reach even secular rulers for whom the most convincing testimony may be the witness of someone arrested because of belief in Jesus.
Mark 13:11 tells us why it is so important to keep clear our connection with God the Holy Spirit. For when you or I have a chance to speak and the communication lines between God and us are open, He can 'feed' the words to say to those needy lost rulers, or any lost soul—words straight from the heart of God—through our mouths.
Suddenly such a possible arrest and incarceration become a privilege!
PRAYER: Dear God, too often I see my circumstances through my desire for life to be safe, comfortable and stress-free rather than through Your eyes of love for every person. Please change my point of view. Amen.
MORE: Example of Paul
The apostle Paul is a great example of someone God used in this way. As a result of his arrest some of the rulers he gave his testimony to were:
- Governor Felix (Acts 24:10-22)
- Felix's wife Drusilla (Acts 24:24,25)
- Festus (Acts 25:6-12)
- King Agrippa and Bernice (Acts 25:23-26:32)
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.