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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Family Betrayal

June 30, 2013

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:12,13, NIV)

On the Tuesday before His crucifixion, Jesus prepares His disciples for what lies ahead.

We have a fairly good picture of what they expected when they first began to follow Him. Their question after the Resurrection telegraphs what motivated them to follow Him in the first place because they asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

Like them, we want to follow Jesus toward good times. We also want the kingdom — the external manifestation of His authority and control over governments, educational institutions, the entertainment industry, the media, and all adversity. In short, it would be nice to have heaven now: no pain, sorrow, crying or death.

But Jesus sees a different picture for disciples in the first century, the 21st  century, and all the centuries in between. He forecasts division in religion, enmity among peoples, natural disasters, and persecution for disciples (Mark 13:5-23). The persecutions come from several sources — beginning with limited religious and civic authorities (synagogues and local councils) and progressing to higher strata of government (governors and kings). But the worst form of opposition will come from family.

Of all the warnings Jesus gives about what is to come, His statements on betrayal by family members are the most severe and haunting for they cut to the heart of the closest relationships we have in life.

Jesus does not spare His disciples the hard words. Their allegiance to Him will sometimes cost them not only death, but also the wrenching agony of the process that leads to death — betrayal by a sibling, a parent, a child.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian pastor martyred by the Nazis, summarized it best: “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him ‘Come and die.’” We would rather be healthy, wealthy and undisturbed. “Shouldn’t following Jesus improve our lifestyle?” we may ask.

Of the original Twelve whom Jesus talks to about the future, 10 would die a martyr’s death. Jesus calls His disciples to pay a tremendous emotional and relational price to follow Him.

Would that all families could be united in coming to faith, as with Cornelius (Acts 10); but the fact remains that families divide over Jesus. Most times that division does not lead to outright betrayal and martyrdom. Sometimes it just results in distance, arguments, withdrawal of emotional or financial support, or disinheritance. Jesus knew division in family was a potentially real consequence for following Him. We must choose Him even above our own family.

As the end times approach, Jesus sees that disciples are in for a really tough time — not only from local authorities, big governments, and family. No, the despising of Christians would become universal, from “all men.”

The good news, however, is twofold: (1) the gospel will be preached in all ethnicities (v. 10), and the end will come (v. 13). In fact, the disciple who endures persecution all the way to the end will be saved. There is going to be a good end because Christ is Victor!

Your end and mine will come one way or another. Our task is to remain faithful and loyal to Jesus no matter what comes our way.

A prayer of response

Lord Jesus, I pray today for believers who suffer and are persecuted for their faith. May they be true to You, and I as well.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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