As Jesus sent the twelve disciples out into the world to do the ministry of the kingdom of God, he warned them that they would not always be well received. Even as he had been condemned and attacked by many, so would they. In fact, the time would come when they would be arrested for bearing witness to Jesus. Yet the disciples shouldn't fear, because when the time came for them to make their defense of their ministry, God himself would give them the words to say.
Today, millions of Christians face a threat similar to that of the first disciples. In China, North Korea, Sudan, Pakistan, and many other countries, followers of Jesus are routinely arrested for their Christian activities and face charges that often carry capital penalties. How they must cling to the promise of Jesus in Matthew 10:19.
Most of us won't be arrested for our faith. But we might stand in other "courts"— when we speak up for Christ in a university classroom or when we try to explain to our boss why we won't lie to cover up her mistakes or when we stand up for social justice and righteousness in the public square. The promise of Jesus, that God will give us the right words to say, encourages us to be bold and clear, yet humble. We do not speak as if we were God. But we speak in the confidence that God is with us, guiding and helping us to proclaim the truth without fear.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced what Jesus promised in this verse? When? If you truly believed that God would give you the right words to say when you needed them, what difference would this make in the way you live?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank you for the promise of this verse. The fact that God will give me the words when I need them encourages me to speak the truth, even when I'm afraid. Help me, Lord, to trust you more as I speak, to rely upon your power as I seek to live for you in the world.
Today, I'm reminded to pray for those believers throughout the world for whom the possibility of arrest and trial is very real. Give them supernatural peace and power. Give them the words to say when they stand in literal courts. Moreover, I pray that your people will be treated with justice, Lord. May your will and your ways prevail. "Thy kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven!" Amen.