For Righteousness' Sake

Sunday, January 24, 2016, 12:08 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “All Through the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 26:47-27:54 (Select vv. NASB).

Betrayed with a Kiss (Matt. 26:47-50)

Jesus had just celebrated the Passover with his disciples. He foretold both Judas’ betrayal of him and Peter’s disowning of him, as well as how all his disciples would fall away on account of him that very night. Then, he went with his disciples to Gethsemane where he prayed to the Father, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away from me unless I drink it, may your will be done.” He asked some of his disciples to keep watch with him, but they fell asleep. Then, Jesus told his disciples he had been betrayed into the hands of sinners.

While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

During the years Jesus’ disciples followed him in ministry, he told them that, as his followers, they should expect to be treated as he was treated. If he was hated, they would be too. If he was referred to as being of Satan, they would be, as well. So, just as he was betrayed by a close companion, was disowned three times by another, was abandoned by all, was falsely arrested, and was sent to his death, they should expect, as well, that they would be treated in like manner, which they were. And, we will be, too.

False Testimony (Matt. 26:59-68)

Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”

Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?”

Satan hates Jesus’ followers. When we were still in slavery to our sin, Satan had power over us. When Jesus Christ delivered us out of slavery to sin, Satan lost his power over us. Ever since then he has been in hot pursuit of us who hold to the testimony of Jesus, who remain faithful to Christ, and who obey the commandments of God (See: Rev. 12:17; 14:12).

If Satan cannot get us back, i.e. if he can’t get us to return to a lifestyle of sin and rebellion against Almighty God, and/or if he can’t get us to become spiritually apathetic and adulterous, he will go on the offensive and will attack our character, making up lies against us, and even producing false evidence against us. He will also twist our words or accuse us of saying what we did not say by putting words in our mouths, figuratively speaking. He will make what is good and holy appear wrong (bad, evil), while making what is wrong (against God) appear holy, good and right. He will cause humans to turn the sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ into a hate crime against humanity, and he will promote the blending of all religions into one false religion, completely void of God and his holiness and righteousness.

They Crucified Him (Matt. 27:27-31)

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

When we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we walk in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh, and we are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we have come out and have become separate from (different, unlike) the world of sin, because we are becoming like Jesus, we will be hated. We will be mocked, made fun of, laughed at, ignored, falsely accused, rejected, abandoned, mistreated, persecuted and even killed for our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his full gospel message of salvation.

Yet, scripture teaches us that we are blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matt. 5:10-12), and that we are to rejoice that we have been counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus Christ (Ac. 5:41). We are to count it all joy when we encounter various trials (Jas. 1:2-4), and we are to rejoice in our sufferings because they produce endurance, character and hope (Ro. 5:3-5). In suffering, we also learn to not rely on ourselves, but on God, and we are able to comfort others who are going through similar suffering with the encouragement we received from God (2 Co. 1:3-11).

So, don’t lose heart! Trust in the Lord and in his sovereignty over your life. Submit to his will and purposes, and believe him to work it all out for the good of those who love God, and who have been called according to his purpose (See: Ro. 8:28). Keep persevering and trusting in the Lord to give you all that you need to endure and to keep serving and trusting your Lord on this earth until the day he takes you home to be with him forever.

All Through the Night / An Original Work / December 7, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.

When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.

Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.