A Moment with the Bible
As Jesus readied the apostles for their journey in what has been called the Limited Commission, He continued His discourse to include challenges they would face even beyond their immediate mission. What Jesus says after verse 15 has to do with the rest of their lives as apostles.
The apostles are about to bring the good news of salvation to the whole world. What could be better than that? Who could possibly object to such a message? It would seem that the world would readily accept the apostles and anyone else bringing the gospel. At the very least, we would think that a person who was not interested would simply be indifferent. But Jesus shocks us by saying that His message will be received with violence. The apostles would be as sheep (physically helpless to defend themselves) in the midst of wolves (people who were bent on destroying them). But how could people possibly have such a violent reaction to something that is so good? The answer is that we are in the midst of two kingdoms at war. Satan reigns over a powerful kingdom that is bent on destroying the efforts of the Lord to save mankind. This is the reason we do not generally find people or governments indifferent to spiritual truth. The gospel is certainly not a threat to humanity. True Christianity does not force its way on anyone. But that is not Satan’s concern. His concern is the salvation of man and the victory of the kingdom of heaven.
The Lord gave the apostles a special promise in verses 19-20, that is not given to any other disciple. When they faced persecution and stood indicted for preaching the gospel, the Lord would give them the words to speak by the power of the Holy Spirit. You will see this same promise given to them in Mark 13:11. The fact that the Holy Spirit would be their “defense attorney” would be critical to their boldness and success. Though today we do not have that same promise, when we know the words of the Holy Spirit in the scriptures we can be as prepared as the apostles to give an answer to everyone who asks (1 Peter 3:15).