Dear Sister Disciples,
The Lord does not limit himself to just giving us a warning, and He encourages us as well.
Reading Plan: Luke 12:1-12
Meanwhile, when the crowd of many thousands had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to His disciples, saying: “Be on your guard… There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known.”— Luke 12:1-2
Here we see the crowds were so many they were stepping on each other. But Jesus does not direct His attention to them. Instead, he speaks to His disciples first.
He warns them of the growing sin of hypocrisy among the religious leaders (Pharisees). Hypocrisy gives the appearance of a godly life but lives a lie.
What appears hidden is not.
The disciples (later known as the apostles) were Jesus’ friends and they would one day face crowds that would kill them. It isn’t easy, but we need to set our eyes away from the crowd and to individuals. Fame, even church fame, is the devil’s trap. As disciples of Christ, we do not live for the favor of the crowd.
For the sake of the Gospel, they died a tragic and cruel death. On two disciples’ death are recorded in Sacred Scripture: Judas hung himself, and James, the son of Zebedee, was executed by Herod (Acts 12:2). Tradition records what happened to the rest of them:
Paul – beheaded
Peter – crucified upside down
Andrew – crucified
Thomas – pierced through by spears
Philip – put to death by a Roman Proconsul
Matthew – stabbed to death
Bartholomew – martyred
James (son of Alphaeus) – stoned and then clubbed to death
Matthias – burned
John – natural death from old age
Thomas – martyred
It is possible to destroy someone’s life but they can never take our soul.
Jesus is still speaking to us, His disciples. He calls us friends. Not many of us will die for Christ. But if so, He would prepare us for whatever may happen.
The soul that belongs to the Lord is always and forever secure.
Throughout history, men, women, and even children have lost their lives for being a Christian or having a Bible in their possession. If we could place a tombstone of remembrance for them, it would read: “Here lies those who feared God more than the face of men.”
So, my sweet fellow sister disciples, be on your guard. The Lord, your God, is with you. If we are ever to respond rightly to the challenges of our day and age, then we must gain the proper perspective and trust the Lord.
Let those who know us as followers of Christ say to one another: “They feared the Lord more than they feared men.”