"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 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.
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Ok, I have to admit that I have struggled with this passage. On the surface, my mind keeps jumping to all the troubles that are about to happen to these 12 guys who Jesus has empowered and instructed, and the warning he gave them, “be on your guard against men”.
However, there are two other phrases that are critical, and if we read too fast we miss them. They’re in verse 18, “On my account…” and in verse 22 “…because of me…”
Lets start with verse 18. If you read this one sentence only, you see that Jesus is saying that because of Him these 12 guys “will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles”.
What have they witnessed?
What will they witness about?
FYI, verse 19 begins with the conjunction “but.” That means “on the contrary” or maybe “otherwise”. The big difference in verse 18 and verses 19 and 20 is that in verses 19 and 20 they are told that the “Spirit of your Father” will speak through them.
SO, who is speaking through them when they are witnesses before governors & kings?
Being a witness to something is significant in Old Testament writings. I think it is one of the BIG TEN … commandments that is… Exodus 20:16 (NIV) says, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
Oh, that’s right, the word’s different now … yeah, about that …
The Greek word used for “witnesses” in verse 18 is MARTURION (pronounced mar-too'-ree-on). Long story short, its root meaning is translated “be testified, testimony, witness” according to Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.
So I guess my question to you today is, if you were brought before people; friends, leaders, governors, or kings … are you prepared to witness about Jesus to them?
What would you say? Will you speak the truth of Jesus? Even if “all men will hate you because of me (Jesus)?”
I certainly hope the cat doesn’t have your tongue when the time comes to speak up as witnesses for Jesus Christ. Who knows, you may get the opportunity tomorrow! Are you ready?