Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13, verses 12-13.
The verses are talking about how things will be at the end of time; this is common knowledge. Have you considered, though, that they apply to more than just end times prophecy?
You see, all those things described in verses 12 and 13 are happening now. You know as well as I do that they’ve been happening all throughout history. The first murder was brother betraying brother. If you don’t believe that people will hate you because of Jesus, then you need to consider the fate this year, here and now, of Coptic Christians in Egypt and Iraq; they survived Mubarek and Saddam Hussein but ISIS has exterminated them. Children rebelling against their parents and having them put to death? Check Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, even today south of the border in Mexico thanks to the drug cartels.
If you stand up for Jesus, you’re a target. You always have been. You will be.
Consider the fate of the 12 Apostles. At the time Jesus spoke these words, they didn’t know it but they were only days away from being hunted fugitives, and Judas Iscariot had only hours left to live. Eleven of the twelve men would die gruesome deaths; only John would live until old age but even he would be tortured numerous times.
Consider these things and then maybe consider that Jesus wasn’t just telling us how things would end for the world: He was telling us how things could end every single day. Yes, the price of following Christ would be high. Could it be any other way when we set ourselves against the world? If you think of it that way, we are bringing the ‘old Adam’ to his end every day we profess to believe in Jesus, and the old Adam doesn’t die easily. He’s thick with sin and doesn’t want to let go. He’s us. We made him and he doesn’t want to go.
I don’t want to die a painful death. I don’t want to be tortured or crucified or anything like that. I want to die like my mom did last year: surrounded by family and in my sleep. Yet if God wills that I must die for Him in some grotesque or exquisitely painful way then bring it baby. It’s not false bravado talking: it’s faith in Jesus. I love, respect and fear the one who could destroy my soul even as he lets my human life expire. I know He loved me enough to live and die and live for me. Because of that faith in Him, I know that I won’t die at all. That while my life here will end, I will only pass into the next life and that it will be so much better than anything I could ever imagine here.
Still, I won’t go easily. There is much living left to do, many things I would like to finish that are now, as yet, undone. But when the battle comes, I have my sword, I have my armor, and I have my faith. I have my Lord. I need nothing more.
Lord, let me live well for You in the remaining time You give me.
Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.