Not Peace

When Jesus sends out the Twelve to announce God’s reign and to back it up with its signs, he warns them that they, too, are not to assume that people will welcome them or listen to them (Mt 10:9–39). They are like sheep among wolves. They are to allow for the possibility of being handed over to councils and flogged in synagogues, arrested and brought before governors and kings, betrayed by family members, hated and persecuted, and called Beelzebul, as Jesus was. Persecution is “the climate in which Jesus lived,” and the one in which they will live. He knows that he comes to bring a sword, not peace. They have to be prepared to be killed because of their proclamation and the signs they give.

Jesus later reiterates that the mystery of opposition that he has faced will also face his followers (see Mt 24; Mk 13; Lk 21), though their predicament will at least be the means of the good news being proclaimed to all the nations. It will then be the case that “you are not the ones who are speaking, but the holy spirit” (Mk 13:11). Such pressures will mean families and communities being riven by conflict and hatred. The disciples will be hated by all nations (Mt 24:9).

John Goldingay, Biblical Theology: The God of the Christian Scriptures (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016), 247.

You know what, it has been a long, long time since I heard a sermon that included anything about counting the cost of following Jesus.

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