Luke 21:12-24 | Don't Think
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had an expectation that some sort of verbal conflict was coming? I can think of times in the past where someone did something to me, and I wasn’t right in my spirit so I was just itching for the fight. I ‘m not talking about that. That demonstrates a proud heart, and I’ve been there, but it is something else entirely and something that we need to let God work on us about.
What I am asking now is have you ever had something coming, some confrontation that you did not want but couldn’t avoid. And you just play over and over again in your head how you think things are going to go down.
This morning on Harvest @ Home we are going to read about one of these situations. A conflict that the disciples don’t want is coming and nothing they can do is going to stop it or even stall it. As Jesus instructs his disciples on how to deal with this conflict there are some things that you and I can learn for when conflict is on the horizon in our lives.
Before we begin, my name is Jason Self and my family and I are working towards starting a church in Ross, Ohio. We don’t know how all of that is going to work with COVID-19’s impact on the country, but Lord willing we would like to plant the church this fall. In the mean time it is our hope that by providing a message on Sunday morning it gives our friends and neighbors a chance to get to know us, even if we don’t have the opportunity to see each other in person. We chose 9:30 in the morning so that this could also serve as a Sunday School hour for our church family at our sending church Southland Baptist while they are also abiding the stay at home orders.
With that part behind us, let us turn to our passage for today’s message
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The title of our message is “Don’t Think”
Looking bad for the disciples
Looking bad for the disciples
No matter what conflict that you and are facing, there is a pretty good chance that what the disciples had ahead of them was worse.
in v12 alone look what we see. They are going to have hands laid on them, they are going to be persecuted, they are going to be delivered up to the enemies of the church, and even brought before kings. And all of this for the cause of Christ.
How Luke 21 is laid out
How Luke 21 is laid out
If you remember from the last message I mentioned that there is a sort of a line around v25 where the subject of these coming trials changes. From v5 through v24 Jesus is speaking about what the disciples are going to live through in about 40 years. The fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. But after this Jesus turns his attention to what he calls in v24 the times of the gentiles. For the first time in history God will work not through his chosen people Israel, but through an assembly of believers the vast majority of which will be from people that fall outside of the Abrahamic promise. Gentiles. And this is the time that you and I are living in today.
So as you look at Luke 21 in your Bible you can sort of say, “OK, 5-24 is past; the end of 24 is the now; and 25 on are things to come."
Things are bleak
Things are bleak
The picture that Jesus is painting is pretty bleak. At least they have the assurance in v18 that not a hair on their heads will perish. But I still wouldn’t call this an encouraging teaching.
How to respond
How to respond
There are a couple of patterns that we find that could help us guess how the disciples would handle this conflict if left to their own devices.
James and John
James and John
If you remember back in Luke 9:54 James and John had an idea on how thing should be handled
And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
They were ready for Jesus to rain down fire and consume their enemies.
At this point it hasn’t happened yet but how does Peter end up handling conflict in the garden. Looking ahead one chapter, in
When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
I like how this reads. Here in Luke it’s “And one of them”, In Matthew’s account in Mat 26:51 it’s “One of them that were with Jesus” even in Mark 14:47 it’s “And one of them” but John just rolls the chariot right over his fellow Apostle.
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
We don’t know how John handles conflict, but John wants you to know that if you cross Peter he very well may cut off your ear.
James and John. And Peter. They could talk big, and as long as knew that Jesus right there next to them. But what did they do, left on their own?
Well in the next chapter we read about Peter:
Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
And you could say that is Peter but what about James and John. We don’t have a specific account of what they were doing. We know that John is present at the cross because Jesus entrusts him with the care of Mary. But what does Mark 14:50 say?
And they all forsook him, and fled.
These great disciples. These men of God who were ready to fight so long as their victory was assured. And don’t get me wrong. I have every confidence that these men were braver for the cause of Christ than I will ever be. They are more sanctified and have greater understanding than I could ever imagine. It’s not to say, “tsk tsk, look at what the Apostles did” But to say even these Apostles, even these great men. they ran from conflict the very first time bravery required faith instead of sight.
I think that some of our brothers and sisters are like James and John and Peter before things got real. It’s easy to itch for fight when you don’t really have anything at risk
But what the Apostles will end up facing is real persecution. I mean some of us are ready to plead martyrdom because folks stopped saying Merry Christmas. But let’s look at our passage again
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
And concerning himself what does Jesus say to the Apostles?
And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
You know the Greek word translated testimony here. But you don’t know it for its Greek meaning. In Greek it translates just as we read it in our text. It’s a testimony. The lexicon defines it.
to provide information about a person or an event concerning which the speaker has direct knowledge
The word is μαρτύριον martyrion. Martyr.
John Huss, one of the early reformers, was arrested, condemned, and sentenced to be burned by a church council in 1415. When Huss heard his sentence pronounced, he fell to his knees and prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive my enemies.” Then when he was chained to the stake, he prayed, “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed.”
Application / Inspiration
Application / Inspiration
I read about things like the martyrdom of John Huss and countless others throughout history. Men and women who surrendered their lives for the cause of Christ and how can I imagine myself behaving with the kind of grace demonstrated by so many throughout Christian history.
How can we expect that we would stand in Christian character and ask for the forgiveness of our enemies as we are burned alive.
If you are saying in your heart, that you could do it. That you could stand strong and pound your chest saying that you would die before denying Christ. You say the same deluded words of Peter in Matthew 26:35 when he said Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee
We are certainly no better than the Apostle who walked on water with our Lord. And as things stand today, we completely lack the courage or the words of what to say if we were put in that position. But look what Jesus says to encourage them
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Given all they have been told to expect. I am sure that they would have the same reaction that you and I would have and would have been thinking on how they were going to respond when it was their time to be questions. Jesus tells them if you want the conflict to resolve so decisively that you enemies can’t even say a thing back against you. Don’t try to plan your argument out ahead of time. Wait on the Lord and he will give you the words.
Hopefully we will never experience anything like what these disciples will end up experiencing. Hopefully we will never know real persecution. But if we do, we know how Jesus encouraged his disciples.
But let me ask. If Jesus can expect that the Apostles to settle in there hearts not to obsess over how they are going to respond to the types of verbal conflicts they would be facing, the kind that could easily turn and lead to them being killed for their faith. How can we let our hearts be so unsettled by the conflicts we expect?
Maybe we would be better off meditating on scripture. Praying that our testimony for Christ wouldn’t misrepresent him because of a tongue quick to anger.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
One of my favorite verses is
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our heart was so abundant with Christ that when we speak, even in times of conflict, it is only Christ that comes from our mouth.
If you want to discuss something about this message or have anything else you would like to discuss or have us pray about, put a quick message in the comments and we will reach out to you privately to discuss.
If you want to know more about Jesus, or if you know that you need to make a decision to live for him, put something in the comments for that also
I have a a request. We are hopeful that we will be able to get started with the ministry of planting a church in Ross this fall. Are greatest prayer is that we won’t be doing it alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Please pray that God will bring us some partners in planting Harvest and ask God if this is something he would have you to help us with. You can shoot us a private message on facebook and we can discuss together and with your Pastor if this is a good ministry for you.
Something that may not seem like that big of a deal, but liking and following the Harvest facebook page and sharing posts like this message goes a long way in getting word out, and I ask that you would help us by doing that
With all that said, let’s close in prayer