Don't Be Afraid

Sandy Zull

READ : Matthew 10:16-33

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)

Jesus completes his teaching on blessings by expanding on the worse part of the covenant vow “for better or worse.” The “worse” (and sometimes the worst!) will happen to you, and it will happen in this way, he says. You will be reviled, you will be persecuted, evil will be spoken falsely of you, and it will all be “on my account“—just because you are a Christian.

Happiness is indeed a spiritual right; it’s our final destination as followers of Jesus. The path to happiness, however, leads straight through those things that frighten us most and cause us to recoil—criticism, slander, persecution, suffering. Jesus brings us into the kingdom not to lift us out of trouble but rather into a way of living that takes us straight through the worst that life can deliver. The seen path of our life may detour radically and drop precipitously. But with Christ as guide, our unseen path is always straight and narrow, and its end is sure. “Yours is the kingdom of heaven, and great is your reward.” Blessed indeed!

PRAYER

Dear Lord, if today is a good day, hold me tight lest I grow lazy; if today is a bad day, hold me tight lest I grow faint of heart. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.