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17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

Whom to Fear

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven;

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17. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the councils—the local courts, used here for civil magistrates in general.

and they will scourge you in their synagogues—By this is meant persecution at the hands of the ecclesiastics.

18. And ye shall be brought before governors—provincial rulers.

and kings—the highest tribunals.

for my sake, for a testimony against them—rather, "to them," in order to bear testimony to the truth and its glorious effects.

and the Gentiles—"to the Gentiles"; a hint that their message would not long be confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Acts of the Apostles are the best commentary on these warnings.

19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought—be not solicitous or anxious. (See on Mt 6:25).

how or what ye shall speak—that is, either in what manner ye shall make your defense, or of what matter it shall consist.

for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak—(See Ex 4:12; Jer 1:7).

20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you—How remarkably this has been verified, the whole history of persecution thrillingly proclaims—from the Acts of the Apostles to the latest martyrology.

21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death—for example, by lodging information against them with the authorities. The deep and virulent hostility of the old nature and life to the new—as of Belial to Christ—was to issue in awful wrenches of the dearest ties; and the disciples, in the prospect of their cause and themselves being launched upon society, are here prepared for the worst.

22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake—The universality of this hatred would make it evident to them, that since it would not be owing to any temporary excitement, local virulence, or personal prejudice, on the part of their enemies, so no amount of discretion on their part, consistent with entire fidelity to the truth, would avail to stifle that enmity—though it might soften its violence, and in some cases avert the outward manifestations of it.

but he that endureth to the end shall be saved—a great saying, repeated, in connection with similar warnings, in the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:13); and often reiterated by the apostle as a warning against "drawing back unto perdition" (Heb 3:6, 13; 6:4-6; 10:23, 26-29, 38, 39, &c.). As "drawing back unto perdition" is merely the palpable evidence of the want of "root" from the first in the Christian profession (Lu 8:13), so "enduring to the end" is just the proper evidence of its reality and solidity.

23. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another—"into the other." This, though applicable to all time, and exemplified by our Lord Himself once and again, had special reference to the brief opportunities which Israel was to have of "knowing the time of His visitations."

for verily I say unto you—what will startle you, but at the same time show you the solemnity of your mission, and the need of economizing the time for it.

Ye shall not have gone over—Ye shall in nowise have completed.

the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come—To understand this—as Lange and others do—in the first instance, of Christ's own peregrinations, as if He had said, "Waste not your time upon hostile places, for I Myself will be after you ere your work be over"—seems almost trifling. "The coming of the Son of man" has a fixed doctrinal sense, here referring immediately to the crisis of Israel's history as the visible kingdom of God, when Christ was to come and judge it; when "the wrath would come upon it to the uttermost"; and when, on the ruins of Jerusalem and the old economy, He would establish His own kingdom. This, in the uniform language of Scripture, is more immediately "the coming of the Son of man," "the day of vengeance of our God" (Mt 16:28; 24:27, 34; compare with Heb 10:25; Jas 5:7-9)—but only as being such a lively anticipation of His second coming for vengeance and deliverance. So understood, it is parallel with Mt 24:14 (on which see).

Directions for the Service of Christ in Its Widest Sense (Mt 10:24-42).

24. The disciple is not above his master—teacher.

nor the servant above his lord—another maxim which our Lord repeats in various connections (Lu 6:40; Joh 13:16; 15:20).

25. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub—All the Greek manuscripts, write "Beelzebul," which undoubtedly is the right form of this word. The other reading came in no doubt from the Old Testament "Baalzebub," the god of Ekron (2Ki 1:2), which it was designed to express. As all idolatry was regarded as devil worship (Le 17:7; De 32:17; Ps 106:37; 1Co 10:20), so there seems to have been something peculiarly satanic about the worship of this hateful god, which caused his name to be a synonym of Satan. Though we nowhere read that our Lord was actually called "Beelzebul," He was charged with being in league with Satan under that hateful name (Mt 12:24, 26), and more than once Himself was charged with "having a devil" or "demon" (Mr 3:30; Joh 7:20; 8:48). Here it is used to denote the most opprobrious language which could be applied by one to another.

how much more shall they call them of his household—"the inmates." Three relations in which Christ stands to His people are here mentioned: He is their Teacher—they His disciples; He is their Lord—they His servants; He is the Master of the household—they its inmates. In all these relations, He says here, He and they are so bound up together that they cannot look to fare better than He, and should think it enough if they fare no worse.

26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known—that is, There is no use, and no need, of concealing anything; right and wrong, truth and error, are about to come into open and deadly collision; and the day is coming when all hidden things shall be disclosed, everything seen as it is, and every one have his due (1Co 4:5).

27. What I tell you in darkness—in the privacy of a teaching for which men are not yet ripe.

that speak ye in the light—for when ye go forth all will be ready.

and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops—Give free and fearless utterance to all that I have taught you while yet with you. Objection: But this may cost us our life? Answer: It may, but there their power ends:

28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul—In Lu 12:4, "and after that have no more that they can do."

but rather fear him—In Luke (Lu 12:5) this is peculiarly solemn, "I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear," even Him

which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell—A decisive proof this that there is a hell for the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both of which, we are assured, will exist for ever. In the corresponding warning contained in Luke (Lu 12:4), Jesus calls His disciples "My friends," as if He had felt that such sufferings constituted a bond of peculiar tenderness between Him and them.

29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?—In Luke (Lu 12:6) it is "five sparrows for two farthings"; so that, if the purchaser took two farthings' worth, he got one in addition—of such small value were they.

and one of them shall not fall on the ground—exhausted or killed

without your Father—"Not one of them is forgotten before God," as it is in Luke (Lu 12:6).

30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered—See Lu 21:18 (and compare for the language 1Sa 14:45; Ac 27:34).

31. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows—Was ever language of such simplicity felt to carry such weight as this does? But here lies much of the charm and power of our Lord's teaching.

32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men—despising the shame.

him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven—I will not be ashamed of him, but will own him before the most august of all assemblies.