April 10, 2020 – Friday
Luke 21:12 NIV
12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of My name.
Looking at this verse out of context two natural questions arise. First, before all what? Second, who will be seized and persecuted as well as handed over, imprisoned and brought before rulers – kings and governors?
To provide context to answer these two questions we look back first at verses 5-7 which occurs just after Jesus comments on the poor widow putting all she had into the temple treasury (v1-4). It was then that 5 Some of His disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
So now we know before all this refers to the time will come when not one stone will be left on another on the temple which some His disciples had just described how beautiful it was as it was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. And we know He was speaking to His disciples who would be seized and persecuted, handed over to synagogues, imprisoned, and brought before kings and governors on account of Jesus’ name. His disciples were those He was immediately addressing. Jesus was crucified in 33 AD and the temple was torn down in 70 AD just as He said it would be.
Jesus also provided more information prior to our verse of the day when He replied to the the question His disciples asked in verse seven; 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.“
However, in verse twelve He said before all of that 12 … they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of My name. So there was a near time of persecution which did occur as we can read about in the books of Acts and Romans among other letters in the New Testament. More came during the Jewish uprising against Rome which led to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the Roman Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians beginning in 64 AD.
While there have been sporadic persecution of Christians over the centuries since even to our time today depending where a Christian happens to live. As Christians living in the USA we face little or no persecution compared to what our brothers and sisters face in other parts of the world. It is for them we should be praying every week when we go to church and every day in our own private prayers.
Let us give thanks this weekend that God has blessed us with such freedom of worship which many Christians around the world simply do not have. Let us pray that they will be blessed by God as they stand firm on their faith in Jesus, our and their Lord and Savior.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton