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Expect Opposition

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time come, that whosoever kill you will think that he do God
service.

John 16: 2.

Christ pointed out clearly enough what would happen to his disciples as a result of their preaching. He mentions two sources
of opposition to the gospel, than which none could be stronger: one that the preacher should be excommunicated and put to
death; the other that the persecutors would regard this as rendering a service to God. He said that the Holy Spirit should
testify of him and that they also should bear witness; and he
assures them that their testimony shall not be effaced by this rage and persecution of the world. He gives them this assurance beforehand for the purpose that they may know and be
prepared against these same abuses.

It is strange and almost incredible to hear that not only the
world shall oppose, with its bitter hatred and rage, Christ, the Son of God and its Saviour, but that also the apostles themselves must be offended at such judgment of the world. Who
could ever conceive that Christ and his gospel should be received in this manner among his own people, to whom he had been promised by God, and from whom they were to expect nothing
but that which is good, which they also received from him?
But here we are told that the gospel is a teaching which, according to human
judgment, gives nothing but offense, — a thing unworthy
to be heard or tolerated. The kingdom of Christ on earth shall so come that it must
be apparent to all that it is not an earthly kingdom after the
manner of men. But the world shall refuse to recognize its
nature. It shall not be called the kingdom of Christ or of God,
but a destruction and subversion of all good government, both
spiritual and temporal. It is well-nigh inconceivable that the Son of God should be so received by those who are called the
people of God. For Christ speaks here not of open, malicious, wicked knaves and godless men, but of those who are regarded
as the most eminent, the wisest, the most holy, even the servants of God. Who would ever think that God would introduce Christ's kingdom upon earth in this way, establish his Word in
all places and gather his Church.

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