Friday, September 30, 2022

Are You Being Harmed or Just Being Killed?

Suggested Reading: Luke 21:8-19

The first Matrix movie came to an unexpected but inevitable climax. The crucial scene was foreshadowed when Morpheus answered Neo's question about being able to dodge bullets by saying, "When the time comes, you won't have to." Still, when Neo opens the door and catches a bullet in the chest, it takes you by surprise. What is not surprising is when, a minute later, Neo rises from the dead and is then able to stop bullets in midair. Watching the movie, you knew it was coming, you just didn't know when. They managed to kill Neo but they couldn't really harm him. What I find intriguing is that we so easily expect something like this in movies but forget its real life parallels.

In Luke 21, Jesus is warning his disciples about the tough times ahead for all of his followers. He describes a time when some will experience intense persecution and be put on trial for their faith. Jesus says, "You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. You will be hated by everyone because of My name, but not a hair of your head will be lost." (Luke 21:16-18, HCSB).  I read the passage three times before it hit me what Jesus was saying. "They will kill some of you...but not a hair of your head will be lost." Huh?

Jesus is reminding us that the power to end our physical existence is not a power that does us any harm. No matter what people may do to us for our faith, nothing they do will have any lasting effect on us. We are covered by the blood of Jesus. We are insulated by the Holy Spirit. And it doesn't matter what people say to us, how they mistreat us, what hardships they make us endure, or even if they kill us. They can't really harm us.  If they kill us, we have the promise that we will rise again. If they demean and degrade us, we have the confidence that God values us at the life of His Son. If they persecute us, we know that God rewards us for our patience and endurance.  And we know that, just like with Paul, God is capable of reaching anyone.

If you suffer for your faith, don't be discouraged or lose hope. They may kill you, but they can't harm you.

Only Casting Out the Annoying Demons

Suggested Reading: Acts 16:16-34 There is a sentence in Acts 16 that has always bugged me. Paul and Silas were in Philippi as missionari...