Great faith is needed to read and believe what Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20: “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
How to Answer When (Not If) Persecuted
The Bible doesn’t teach ‘if’ you are persecuted’; it teaches ‘when’ you are persecuted. Read 2 Timothy 3:12 and Jesus Said Be Persecuted for God for more background on this subject. In this study Jesus tells us how to answer our persecutors. His teaching is not what we would expect.
Does he outline exactly what we are to say? Maybe give us a list of bullet points for our response? Does He tell us how we are to say it? How we are to act? Does Jesus prep us for this momentous event in our lives? No. Instead, Jesus simply said, “… make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:14-15) That is why this post starts with the words, “Great faith is needed to read and believe what Jesus said…”.
Great Faith Needed
Jesus said we are to look into the future, expect persecution, and not be worried or concerned about what we will say when confronted by our persecutors. Jesus said not to worry, because He will give us ”words and wisdom” that no one can ”resist or contradict”. In Matthew 10:20, Luke 12:12, and Mark 13:11, Jesus said it will be the Holy Spirit speaking through us. In Luke 12:12, Jesus said ”…the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say”.
That’s it. No more details. Basically, Jesus said just go along and enjoy your life, knowing you’ll be given what you need, when you need it. This promise was fulfilled for the disciple Stephen when he was seized in Acts 6:8-10. It was fulfilled for Peter in Acts 4:1-22, and for Paul in Acts 22:30 – Acts 23:11.
Do we have faith and truly believe that God will do the same for us, too?
Call to Action
Let us examine our relationship with God’s Holy Spirit. Do we believe what Jesus said, that the Holy Spirit will speak through us when our time of persecution comes? If not, is it because we do not have that kind of relationship with the Holy Spirit right here, right now? How do we see ourselves in relationship to God’s Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit as close to us and as real to us as Jesus is?
The Holy Spirit could only come after Jesus left this earth (see John 16:7). A gift (Holy Spirit) that came at such a high cost (Jesus’ death) can only be described as priceless. Do we recognize the presence of this priceless gift in our lives today?
If you have repented and been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as Peter preached in Acts 2:38. In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus said we are to ask our Father in heaven to give us the Holy Spirit. Let us do what Jesus said to do. Let us boldly ask God, and continue to ask God, for this filling of the Holy Spirit in increasing measure. When our day of persecution comes, let us be so close in relationship to the Holy Spirit that letting Him speak through us is a natural and effortless as our next breath of air!