Now, imagine this; these boys are really boys. They haven’t hit what I’d call “their full statue as a man” yet. They are young men with a background of hard work in a possibly poor community. They live by the Sea of Galilee and they didn’t go on to study with a Rabbi when Jesus called them to follow Him.
So I’ve said all that to say in Matthew 24 Jesus has taken these young men to the most incredible place, the Temple, it was probably a very overwhelming time. Then to hear that the Temple would be destroyed could have been crushing. They knew that Rome was over their heads and that there was conflict going on everywhere and then Jesus had been very challenging to the Pharisees, so they were aware of the troubling times they were living in, but to imagine that the Temple was going to be destroyed, unthinkable!
Well, Jesus goes on to describe the end times with more detail and they hear Him say “You will be hated by all nations because of me!” I’m thinking, “Where do I sign up for this?” "Really, after all we do to help people and feed them and heal them and now they’re going to hate us? And what’s this about persecution?" And with every sentence it just gets worse! I can only imagine what they were thinking.
Today, we would love to be appreciated for everything we do to be a blessing to our world. The amount of money that goes to feed the poor, the missionary efforts, the youth and children’s arena’s where we poor money into reaching our teens and children. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be given a little nod of approval? But, that’s not why we do what we do, and that’s not where we live – to be approved of.
The reality is this: we can do no less than what we are compelled to do because of how God loved us and gave Jesus to disciple us and then die for us and our sins.
This is our hope – it’s going to get worse! And we will know He is working because we belong to Him and He gives us strength, courage and power by His Spirit to live above this world. Jesus said; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)