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Matthew 10:28

Posted 05/12/22, by Dan Vis

God has clearly promised to take care of His children--through the unexpected crisis of life, through the tribulations of the last days, and through our regular day to day challenges. In all these areas, Jesus says to fear not.

But in the back of our mind we know many great heroes of faith have suffered horrific persecution. In fact, in some parts of the world that persecution continues to this day. How are we to deal with that possibility?

Today's verse suggests the right response:

Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

It's one of those verses, you might have to read more than once to really get the gist of what Jesus is saying. But let's give it a moment's reflection together.

First, there is sure to be trouble in this world. In this chapter, where Jesus is giving specific missionary training to the twelve, He promises they will face difficulties: They are like sheep being sent amongst wolves (Matthew 10:16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.). They are going to be delivered up and scourged (Matthew 10:17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;). They will be hated of all men (Matthew 10:22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.), and live with persecution from city to city (Matthew 10:23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.). Even our own family members will betray us--to death (Matthew 10:21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.). No, it's pretty clear, He's not trying to sugar coat the dangers of a life of faith.

In the verses immediately preceding today's text, we read that "the disciple is not above the master" (Matthew 10:24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.), and that we will be slandered and falsely accused just like Jesus was (Matthew 10:25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?). Against these accusers, Jesus says, "fear them not" for "there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed" (Matthew 10:26Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.). And it's true, if we stay faithful and consistent, our characters will in many cases be vindicated with time.

I've faced these kinds of trials on a few occasions myself. And it was a terribly painful thing. But each time I saw the Lord preserve and shelter my reputation. I've learned the truth of Proverbs 18:10The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe., that "the name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe". It was never easy, but I've learned to trust myself to God.

But today's verse is about those situations where our enemies prevail, to the point our mortal life is at risk. Where our enemies reach the point they are able to "kill the body". In these situations, Jesus simply reminds us they "are not able to kill the soul". Our real life is hid with Christ in God, and the enemies of the Gospel cannot touch it. The Father "is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck [us] out of my Father's hand" (John 10:29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.).

But that doesn't mean we can't be pressured to step out of His hands our self. That's what the last part of today's verse is all about. That we should fear instead offending "him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell". When confronted with the choice of compromising our faith and losing our physical life--the only viable answer is to choose God. After all, how logical is it to gain a few more years in this world, and forfeit eternity? Seriously?

The wise man once wrote, "The fear of man bringeth a snare" (Proverbs 29:25The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.) but "the fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.). Those are our only two choices, really: to fear man or to fear God. One leads to death, the other to life. So if we ever find ourself in this kind of situation, that is where our mind needs to focus. We can let go of our physical body--but we dare not lose our hold on God.

Jesus never says the reason we shouldn't fear is that nothing bad will ever happen. Rather, that we don't have to fear because God is greater than our trials. Because He will be with us through all our trials. And because He will make all things right in the end.

The Bible says "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.). And it's looking increasingly likely difficult times are ahead. If we will but cling to God, we will have nothing to fear.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 05/13/22
Very true Doug! Funny you cited that verse Qing. It was the exact verse that came to my mind too! :)
Posted by Qing Ling on 05/13/22
Psalms 119:71It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. KJV
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Posted by Doug Schoch on 05/12/22
Trials are our greatest blessings because they purify the dross from our lives.
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/12/22
You are very welcome Terri. Glad this was an encouragement. I'm sure those who have been through real trials in their life, and felt God's sustaining power, love to testify about His faithfulness... :)
Posted by Terri Krovoza on 05/12/22
Thank you for sharing a most important message for these times and promises that God will be with us through it all if we just stay faithful.

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