April 02, 2020 – Thursday
Matthew 23:34-35 NKJV
34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
The above verses come to us as Jesus completes His list of woes to the scribes and the Pharisees that begin with the first twelve verses calling them out as hypocrites unworthy of praise as the first four verses show us Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Jesus calls out seven woes upon them, before coming to His damning conclusion beginning with two verses preceding the ones we have for today. 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Some of the strongest words of condemnation you find coming from Jesus.
Then in our verses for today we find Jesus knows these same scribes and Pharisees will kill and crucify the prophets, wise men, and scribes He will send. Others will be scourged in your synagogues and persecuted from city to city. We know from reading Acts this happened. Then Jesus lets them – and us – know this will be part of a long unbroken chain of events from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah through those He would send in His earthly time and beyond that continues to this very day.
In Wikipedia we read: In the 20th century, Christians were persecuted, sometimes to the point of genocide, by various governments, including the government of the Ottoman Empire, which committed the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides, and the governments of atheistic states such as the Soviet Union, Communist Albania and North Korea. This continues today in the 21st century as well and it is not rare. Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that every year an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are killed because of some relation to their faith
In the USA while we face much persecution, it is relatively mild compared to what so many of our brothers and sisters in various parts of the world. Let us praise God that we are so blessed to live in such freedom while we pray for our fellow believers around the world. Additionally we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton