Bible Study: Courage Under Persecution–Luke 12:2-9
2 “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. 4 I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. 5 I shall show you Whom to fear. Be afraid of the One who after killing [the body] has the power to cast into Gehenna [eternal hell]; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that One.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. 7 Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. 8 I tell you, everyone who acknowledges Me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever denies Me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
In the Book of Luke, St. Luke the missionary presents a collection of Jesus’ sayings which exhort His followers (all of us!) to fearlessly acknowledge Him (and His mission). In so doing, He assures us of God’s unwavering protection – even during times of severe persecution (see also Matt. 10:26-33). This passage serves as a powerful reminder that, at the Last Judgment, all our thoughts and actions will be made known. And, we will be judged accordingly. It reminds us also of God’s great love for us. That every last hair on our head is accounted for (v 7).
In a stunning declaration, Jesus winds His passage down with: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges Me before others, [I] will [then] acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies Me before others will be denied before the angels of God” (v 8-9). Acknowledgment of God ‘before others’ as well as the acknowledgment of His Law and precepts will require trust, patience, courage and, yes, a whole lot of humility. And it will feel at times counterintuitive to the ways of the world. But rest assured, His way is the only way to the Land “flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:17) – the only way to an eternal destination.
The Word of God is, in many instances, direct and to the point. But the directness was never meant to scare us. Rather, the Word of God is meant to lead us carefully through this life and all the way to our eternal Home. In an unfathomable act of love and mercy for a sinful people, God has provided us with the ultimate roadmap. When obeyed, this road map ensures a safe arrival to the Promised Land. Everything that God has done, and everything He has commanded us, is for our benefit. So then, we are wise to humbly surrender our will for His; leaning not on our own understanding but on the divine and infinite Wisdom of our Lord (Prov. 3:5-6).