Magistrates, Powers, and Persecution
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Luke 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for a variety of reasons, but for this post I just want to touch on a couple verses and what it means for us today.
In Luke 12:11-12, Jesus is speaking to His disciples (μαθητης, student/disciple) and says, "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
Whoa, wait a minute! Why on earth does Jesus expect His disciples to be brought before synagogues (religious authority), magistrates, and powers (secular governing authorities)?! Could it be that He expected them to violate local laws, orders, and customs for the cause of spreading the glorious gospel?
Almost all the disciples were martyred for their faith, not for hiding their faith but for boldly proclaiming it no matter what current laws were! Jesus would have never been crucified if He obeyed the unrighteous laws of the day. Paul was thrown in prison repeatedly, whipped repeatedly, he was taken out of a city and stoned by the people, and just kept going!
Would the apostles have stopped meeting together if the government of their day said, "you can’t gather"? Of course not, because they were told that and they said they must obey God rather than men.
Why are we so afraid of persecution? Christians have been persecuted for 2,000 years; what we're experiencing here in California is nothing new considering church history.
2 Timothy 3:11-12 says “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” We should expect persecution for living for Christ! We should rejoice in it (2 Corinth 12:10)!
What Jesus told His disciples in Luke 12 was "completely and abundantly fulfilled, Acts 5:26; Acts 12:1-4; Acts 23:33; Acts 26:1, Acts 26:28, Acts 26:30" (Albert Barnes), and it continues to be fulfilled today. We need not be astonished when the world hates us.