Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
21Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.22And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.23When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Micah7:6; Matthew16:28;24:9-13; Acts8:1)


Jesus depicted four sources of danger before His disciples, each of which waits for His followers. These sources of problems were the common people, the religious court, the civil authority and their own families. How painful it is when brothers hate their brother or sister for their faith in Jesus and beloved parents turn into enemies of the redeemed One who opened his heart to Christ.
Once a faithful father, in a dictatorial country saw his son restlessly turning over in his bed while asleep. He asked his son who was half awake, what had disturbed him. The boy answered that the youth leader forced him to spy on his parents and to tell him all that they spoke about at dinner.
A medical student wrote that her father hated her because she left the faith of her fathers, but at the same time he loved her because of her humility, love and purity inside and outside the house. On the contrary, her father loved her brother for his continuance in the faith of the fathers, but hated him at the same time for his indulgence in every impurity. The student asked us to help her through our prayers that she might be able to walk in holiness and be an active witness through her silence, for she, as a girl, was prevented from debating or arguing with her father.
The hate of the powerful and of the society reaches its highest point when a country is ruled by an anti-Christ tyrant who employs the media to force people to submit to him and to his party. We find, in the history of the church, waves of severe persecutions that have killed many and shed the blood of the innocents, as an evidence of their love for Jesus, their Lord. They were certain He lived and nothing could separate them from his love. We are faced with critical times, for the false Christ is drawing near to us to unify the nations and the religions against the true Christ. During his limited ruling, he will dominate most of the Christians and slay them in droves. Then will appear who would faithfully abide with Christ, and learn from His Spirit, patience and endurance, who would continue to love and bless his enemies and be merciful with those that are persecuted by evil spirits.
Our salvation began on the cross, was realized at the second birth and is purified through sufferings, as the apostle says, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” In the Second Coming of Christ our salvation will be perfected by grace.
Christ does not call every one of His witnesses to martyrdom. He commanded His disciples occasionally to flee to another city if they were persecuted in the first one, and to be his witnesses there anew. Jesus testified to His faithful apostles that the cities they can resort to are endless till He comes. Therefore, the disciples, at times of severe danger, may change their dwelling and residence to secure themselves when the Lord, in His providence, opens to them another door to His service. He that flies by the guidance of the Lord should serve again. It is not shameful for Christ’s servants to abandon their ground, provided they do not abandon their colors. They may avoid the way of danger, though they should not avoid the way of duty.
Observe Christ’s care of His disciples, in providing places of retreat and shelter for them. Persecution will not rage in all places at the same time. When one city has become too hot for them, another is reserved for a cooler shade and a little sanctuary, a favor to be used and not to be slighted. Yet always with this proviso, no sinful, unlawful means should be used to escape, for then it is not a door of God’s opening.
Christ did seldom speak about His death and resurrection before this sermon according to Matthew. He now explains to them about His next coming, the goal of the history of mankind, putting before them, first of all, a great hope. The sufferings, death and resurrection will remain an expectation of the Christian, but the presence of Jesus in glory when He overcomes all the kingdoms and makes His enemies His footstool is His eternal goal. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Prayer
Oh Holy coming King, Please forgive my weak courage, little faith and impatience. Overcome in me all hatred. Teach me to recognize Your plan of salvation that I may be prepared to suffer and testify for Your name publicly. Guide me when I must keep silent or escape the hand of the enemies that I may proclaim Your name in another place. Make me obedient to Your leadership. Bless those who cause pain to me and persecute me and fill those who hate me with your grace. Come quickly our Lord Jesus. Strengthen every believer who suffers today for Your name or dies for Your sake.
Question
How do we overcome the waves of persecution?