- Christians have tons of examples of faith, which means they shouldn't worry about little stuff like being persecuted or killed.
- They just need to look to Jesus and keep on running the race. After all, that's what he did. He died on a cross and his followers should be ready to follow in his footsteps if need be.
- Look at persecution as a learning opportunity. Maybe this is God teaching you how to be a better person?
- See, says the author, God is like a dad, which means Christians are his children. Human parents have to lay down the law for their kids every now and then. Even though their rules and punishments seem harsh, parental units just do it because they love you.
- It's the same with God. Maybe by going through all this suffering, Christians will come out more faithful in the end.
- If God didn't care, he'd just let people do whatever they want to. But he does care, so he has to set limits.
- So, keep your head up, the author continues. Don't be like Esau (from back in Genesis), who turned his back on God just to get a decent meal.
- Basically, you need to play the long game—don't give up on God just because you get something good in the short term.
Acts, Chapter 26, Verse 5-7 5They have known about me from the start, if they are willing to testify, that I have lived my life as a Pharisee, the strictest party of our religion. 6But now I am standing trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors. 7 Our twelve tribes hope to attain to that promise as they fervently worship God day and night; and on account of this hope I am accused by Jews, O king.
Paul clearly explains that his entire life was in preparation for the hope of Israel, Christ Jesus, who Israel did not recognize as the son of God. Paul states that the prophets and Moses had foretold that the Christ would suffer, and as first to be raised from the dead, he would proclaim light to both God’s people and the Gentiles. The resurrection is God’s promise to Israel. Paul like Christ ultimately was a victim of intolerance.
Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
GOSPEL Matthew 13: 24 – 30
At that time Jesus spoke this parable…