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For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death.
Believing in Christ does not mean you get a great relationship with everyone in your life. If you experience many great relationships, remember that you are greatly blessed and be grateful. Christ speaks of betrayal by family and friends – even to the point of death. This brings to mind when Jesus said “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Authentically representing Christ is difficult in the face of this truth. Seek God and depend on Him for strength and courage. Live trusting him and speak the gospel boldly.
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him, leaving everything behind. Then Levi gave a great banquet in his house for Jesus, and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. But the Pharisees and their experts in the law complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus’s response to the Pharisees when asked why He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners provides a simple yet powerful clarity into the situation. It’s almost as if Jesus says, “Yes, who better to eat and drink with!?” The Pharisees were so concerned about how certain things would look that they lost touch with the heart of God and what mattered most. Jesus though is not out of touch, and without hesitation enters that situation to get involved with the people who need the great spiritual physician. Jesus calls sinners (everyone), to repentance.
You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. First the gospel must be preached to all nations. When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
In a great many situations, the Holy Spirit is engaging us to “say whatever is given to us at the time”. Today my prayer for us all is that we would be receptive and able to recognize the Holy Spirit engaging us and also be obedient to His leading. Doing this may or may not cost us our lives each time; perhaps it will cost our reputation, our free time, our sense of convenience or comfort. Often, being obedient to the Holy Spirit leads us to situations where we need to depend on God more and more. That is where we live for Christ: ruthlessly depending on God for everything, every day.
Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins.”
When we approach the throne of grace to seek God for anything and everything in our lives, we must always be surveying our hearts and the impact of our relationships with others. Withholding forgiveness from others destroys our hearts and robs God of placing His goodness on display in His children. A heart that is actively harboring resentment or grudges and preventing forgiveness is also robbing itself of forgiveness from God. Trust God to be Just. Forgive others and let God be God.
Now when Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” It shrieked, threw him into terrible convulsions, and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He is dead!” But Jesus gently took his hand and raised him to his feet, and he stood up. Then, after he went into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Jesus recognizes a crowd forming and takes care of the spirit. Jesus is able to identify the spirit as “deaf and mute”, and the response of the spirit to the command of Christ is obedience. Hear this: evil’s only response to the command of Christ is obedience, because Jesus Christ has authority over all. The disciples (confused and probably ashamed) could not cast this spirit out because they were not properly “prepared” to do so. Jesus reveals 2 spiritual disciplines that have real impact in the spiritual world. This spirit could only be dealt with by prayer (and fasting - NKJV, KJV).