“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.”
The first command that the Lord gives in this passage is that we open our eyes and watch ourselves. When it comes to being prepared for the Last Days, it’s our own responsibility. I’m not responsible for anybody else’s walk. I need to make sure that I’m on the right path.
How do I need to prepare? That’s the important question. Jesus talks about three different areas that will require us to be willing to show our witness for Christ.
The first is councils and synagogues; or specifically, organized religion. It seems that whenever you decide to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, there will be a point when “religion” will disagree with you. So you must be prepared for them to take action against you.
That’s because most major denominations have a set of rules that they’ve put in place to maintain order. In most cases, that’s not a bad thing. I’m currently a part of a large denomination that’s very encouraging.
But that’s not always the case. There are sometimes when you have to choose between following God and serving your denomination. That will require the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
The next area deals with those who influence society – governors, and kings. I believe that this also includes leaders of industry. That’s because in many cases, those with huge resources have influence over those in government.
We’re told that we’ll be made to stand before them. This is God’s doing so that we can be a witness to them. Again, this will require the wisdom of God to be active in us.
That phrase is interesting in the original Greek. It implies that our witness will be a wind that blows in a different direction than they want to go. Some leaders will receive our testimony and be saved while others will reject both it and us.
The final area He talks about is the nations. Jesus tells us that the Good News of Christ must be proclaimed among all nations. The word for nations in that verse really means people groups. There are some countries where many tribes are represented in them. These groups of people must all be reached with the message of Christ.
But that brings us back to our big question. How can I possibly prepare for such a complex assignment?
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
The literal Greek of this verse says when you are led or surrendered. I believe that the Lord’s telling us that our place of testimony may be either voluntary or involuntary. But no matter which we find ourselves in, the preparation is the same.
We need to have an intimate knowledge of how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. How can I receive the word to speak, if I’ve never taken the time to hear Him in the past? The time is now to develop listening spiritual ears.
I believe that this is the next thing on God’s agenda for His church in these Last Days. He wants us to take the time to learn to hear from the Spirit in His presence.
Question: How did the ability to hear from the Spirit affect evangelism in the early church?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi