the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Day by Day Devotional - Year 4 of 5
The hypocrisy which characterised the Pharisees could, in different forms, become a danger to the disciples. Those who follow the Lord Jesus may hide from the world their relationship with Him. That is why the Lord encourages His own, in front of the people, to confess Him openly before men without being afraid of the consequences. We know in fact what terrible persecutions awaited the disciples and the Christians of the first few centuries. The Lord lovingly prepares His friends (v. 4) for these difficult days and directs their thoughts to their heavenly Father. The God who is concerned about the lot of a tiny sparrow of little value, would He not therefore take care of His children in time of trial? And moreover, when they were called upon to testify, they were not to worry, for the Holy Spirit would teach them what they ought to say.
Nowadays, in most western countries, believers are not ill-treated or put to death. But if they are faithful, they will nevertheless be hated and despised by the world, something which is always hard to bear. These exhortations and the promises which follow them are also for us. May we ask the Lord to give us more courage to confess His name.