Assurance in the Face of Danger

William Wallace challenging his troops to beat the odds

Martin Luther King Jr on the night before he was assassinated

Great leaders know how to inspire people to do the seemingly impossible. What gives people this kind of boldness? For Wallace it was the hope of freedom. For King it was also the hope of freedom but also the assurance that God had something better in store for him, come what may.

Then we come to Jesus in Matthew 10. When he sends out the 12 he is up front about the difficulties ahead (both immediately and some decades later),

“16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matt 10:16-20

Jesus said there would be difficult days ahead. He was right and continues to be right. The question for us is, do we trust that he is going to provide for us what he said he would provide? The only way for us to be a willing witness for Christ (“witness” comes from the Greek word “martyr” comes from) is if we are willing to die to ourselves because we have full assurance of new life through Christ. Once you have died to yourself, you don’t really mind facing death a second time because you know that Christ has rendered death itself impotent. So follow Jesus having full assurance in the face of danger. Do the bold thing. Say what needs to be said. Trust that God sees a brighter future than the world can envision.

Martin Luther King Jr’s Last Speech

Hearing these words in light of being the day before his assassination is pretty eerie. I hope you had a day where you could reflect on where we have come from, where we are, and what possibilities lie ahead in racial reconciliation. For the complete transcript of this speech and its background see here.