“Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you…Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” (Matthew 10:16-20, 26-27)
Jesus’ disciples were about to be sent out ahead of Him into to the towns and villages to preach the kingdom and demonstrate His power and authority. Though Jesus was still on earth at this time, this commission and the accompanying warnings about persecution and trouble are applicable at any time…and to any disciples!
The provision He promised when the circumstances get ugly: radical prophetic insight!
Jesus warned the disciples about the certainty of persecution and even arrest. But He calmed their fears by telling them NOT to worry and NOT to try to prepare beforehand what to say in their own defense. Jesus promised that the Father Himself would speak through them in the very hour of their need.
The efficacy of Christ’s promise for profound prophetic insight in the face of persecution and trouble can be seen in the Scriptures and through out the history of the church. Peter referred to the “Spirit of glory” that rests on those who are persecuted for righteousness sake (1 Peter 4:14). We see this timely “anointing” coming on Stephen, the first martyr of the church. He was enabled by the Spirit to actually see into heaven in the hour of his persecution unto death. Peter, James, John, and Paul all had special help and insight given at various points when they faced severe trials for Christ’s sake. We can easily read about these events in the Bible.
I have found that our Lord still makes supernatural prophetic provision available to His people who are willing to face opposition as they seek to make Him known. Lots of memories immediately flood my mind as I think of this. I have not faced the severe trials that many of God’s servants have faced over the centuries. In light of the suffering many have endured I almost shrink at sharing some of my own stories. But this is not about me. It’s about the faithfulness of God and His promised provision for each one of us who will obey Him – even in the face of opposition.
One day while doing jail ministry I found myself in a dangerous predicament. I was alone in a cell block with six prisoners. I was having a Bible study with five of them at the “day” table. One of the inmates had apparently chosen not to join us and had stayed back in his bunk room. A bit later the missing man came flying out into the day room, railing at me and shouting angry words. He accused me of lying to the other men and of misrepresenting the Bible to them. He was an extremely mean looking man, very muscular and tattooed from head to toe. His long hair was flying all about as he got in my face and threatened me.
I actually thought that he was going to be beat me up. I wondered if the other guys would come to my aid. I told myself inwardly, “When you are on the ground, try to guard your vital organs.” The man would not stop. I tried to reason with him but finally was beyond having any kind of answer. I wanted the other men to know Who my Source was, so I began to pray out loud, even as the angry man continued to accuse me. I said, “Oh Father, I do not know what to do just now. I need your grace. Father, give me wisdom to know what to do.” As soon as this prayer left my lips, something suddenly dropped into my mind. It was a simple instruction: “Bind the spirit of rebellion.”
This is already too long. So I will finish this story in the next post.