Theme: Encouragement to Trust
This week’s lessons remind us that no matter how great the persecutions we may be called to endure as Christians, we are promised blessings, both in this age and also in the age to come.
Scripture: Mark 10:29, 30
Christ’s words to the disciples in Mark 10:29, 30 are not just an encouragement to serve Christ, important as that is. They are also an encouragement to trust Him through difficult times. We can hardly escape this point since the Lord links His promise of blessings to the phrase “and with them, persecutions,” thereby indicating that although He undertakes to bless us abundantly with homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and even fields, we will not enjoy these without the persecutions that inevitably come to any true follower of Christ. We will continue to have hardships until we come to possess our full inheritance in the presence of Jesus Himself in heaven.
Most persecutions come from the world. The world hates Christ, so naturally it hates those who serve Christ and live like Him. That hatred is increased when Christians are blessed by their heavenly Father. In our passage the blessings of God on believers in this life are an encouragement to them to continue trusting Him in spite of the difficulties. The Christian may reason, “It is true that the world hates me; Jesus warned that this would be the case. But though the world hates me and wishes me harm, it is evident that God loves me and wishes me good. He has blessed me a hundredfold—with homes, brothers, sisters, mother, children, and fields. Every day I see further evidence of God’s favor. So I will trust Him to do me the further good of seeing me through these temptations and bring me safe to heaven.”
Other persecutions come from the devil. We must not overly emphasize this source of temptations, for the devil is a finite creature and can therefore only tempt one individual in one place at one time. He has probably never persecuted either you or anyone you know personally. Still the devil has hosts of lesser demons who work with him, and he is capable of working indirectly through mere human beings. If persecutions come from this source, God’s goodness is an encouragement to trust Him through these times also.
Yet I say this: The promise is for the righteous, which means for those who have been made righteous through God’s grace received in following after Jesus Christ. These are great promises. They are encouragements to trust God and serve Christ. But they are for those who have not turned back to their possessions, as the rich young man did, but who rather have turned from them, forsaking everything for the surpassing joy of the excellency of knowing Jesus Christ. To these alone God promises homes, parents, children, friends, and fields—with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
How else is Mark 10:29, 30 to be an encouragement?
What kinds of persecutions come to Christians? What different forms of attack are used to make us ineffective and unfaithful in our discipleship?
For Further Study: To see how the peace of Christ strengthens us during times of trouble, download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Peace Casting Out Fear.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)