To The Gentiles
· He had been born and raised in the strictest set of Pharisees.
· He had the best possible Jewish education, at the feet of Gamaliel.
· He had been zealous in persecuting Christians.
· He had even willingly participated in the martyrdom of Stephen.
When a man like that comes before you, his credentials would seem to be impeccable. At least it ought to get him a fair hearing. But it doesn't. Christ tells him that to begin with, so that he will know how to react.
That Christ does not ask for bravado
It sometimes takes more courage to appear to be a coward than it does to pretend to be a hero. Christ never asks his disciples for bravado; he gives them strength and asks true courage. Bravado is the denial of fear; courage, the overcoming. Christ tells him here that they won't listen. And that he has other plans.
Christ permits us to flee
Here—and in other places—Christ makes it clear that the answer to such persecution is to run. We are to flee. This sounds so cowardly that we fight it. But we must understand that he allows such persecution to prompt our flight. That flight will take us, as it took Paul, to new places and new people. These are ones who have not heard the Gospel.
It is a form of spiritual judo. Does Satan attack? Then we will flee, running from place to place—spreading the Gospel. In a sense, it is because of Satan's attack that the Gospel is spread! If we flee for the purposes of God, at his command, he will keep us in his care and show us greater things.
It is said that God allows no evil unless from it He can make a greater good. It is not always true that He does make a greater good; that may depend upon our obedience. Paul is obedient to the heavenly vision given to him. Are we obedient to the instruction given to us?