Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This is week 46, Matthew, part 44 in the series. Today, Pastor G talks about Matthew 10:17-18 as Jesus begins warning about the cost that may come from following Him. Possible consequences include persecution, betrayal by friends and family, imprisonment, beatings and even death.
But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues; ~ Matthew 10:17
“Courts” = Local Sanhedrins
23 members each. They functioned in the cities and villages of Israel other than Jerusalem. They met in the various local synagogues, especially when they had to hold court and make judgments. One of their jobs was to discipline Jews who broke the Law and they were especially concerned with issues of blasphemy. Flogging – up to 39 lashes – was a possible disciplinary decision they could make.
Flogging is actually allowed in the Law, in Deuteronomy 25:1-3. Different offenses warranted different amounts of lashes with the maximum being 40 for the most severe of offenses like blasphemy.
Rabbinical Law limited this to 39 strokes:
1) To make sure they didn’t miscount and hit 41 times, breaking the law themselves
2) Sometimes people died after receiving 40 strokes.
… and you will even be brought before governors and kings on My account, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. ~ Matthew 10:18
One day, like it was for the original Twelve, being a Christian will be a very dangerous lifestyle everywhere, even here in America. When that is the case will you still stand strong and continue to stand up for Jesus or will you cave and fall away from the faith to protect yourself and your family? Don’t answer too quickly.
Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. ~ Matthew 24:9-13
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. ~ Revelation 2:10
The time period of ten days is an apocalyptic symbolic number, as are most of the numbers in Revelation. It almost always represents a completed cycle, the totality of some human component. So, what Jesus is really saying in this coded apocalyptic format is these human disciples will have ongoing, complete, total tribulation for the entirety of their remaining human lifespan. Ten days here represents a complete cycle of tribulation that ends only with their death.
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?” When do the wolves get what’s coming to them God? And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also. ~ Revelation 6:9-11
Jesus is consistent in the picture He paints of the last days. It is going to be very dangerous for Christians. He wants us to be careful, like secret agents in some ways. Wary as serpents but innocent as doves. Don’t TRY to get arrested. Don’t TRY to get martyred. Stay alive as long as you can in order to witness to as many as you can so that Jesus can save as many as He can.