As I was thinking recently on the court process of prosecution cross examination, meditating on being in the situation of the witness, I couldn’t help think what the Bible might say on the matter. I was quickly thrust into the closest Bible I had… ah, found it! Exactly what I was looking for.
Upon briefing the twelve—the disciples’ “commissioning service” if you like—Jesus mentions to them that they’re best to prepare for a hard time. In that day there was a very real chance of authorities arresting and imprisoning the disciples. (Even in our day, in some of the foreign countries people serve in, there’s the very real threat of arrest and imprisonment).
But Jesus reminds the twelve that God’s Spirit travels with them, and indeed precedes them. Not if, but when the disciples are arrested for preaching on account of Jesus they are told:
“Do not worry, about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” –Matthew 10:19-20 (NIV).Jesus is saying, ‘Do not worry,’ in the same way he did at the Sermon on the Mount. If we place God’s kingdom and his righteousness first “all these things [i.e. our very needs] will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
We may be opposed by authorities, family and even religious people, yet in faith we know God’s Spirit exists with and through us, as we act in a spirit of meek strength, love and peace. He will see us through because he alone is capable and he will do it. “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” –1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV).
The very real gain to be had in not being the slightest bit concerned about the troubles brought about in doing good is it speaks powerfully to the power we represent—an eternal and holy power that is above all and beyond all.
Imagine being in a threatening court room situation and being barraged with questions and goaded for responses, and then the Spirit piques our awareness… suddenly a peace that transcends understanding pervades and starts to channel through us. Even in a sense of fear this peace takes the disabling edge off the moment.
These are the truths we stand by: nothing hidden will not be made known at the right time (Matthew 10:26); our souls cannot be harmed (v. 28); if we acknowledge God before men God will not desert us (v. 32); and, God’s love is all sufficient (v. 31).
We’re beyond worry. And we know God is with us. We mutter to ourselves, “Emmanuel”—God is with us.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.