If I was prepared for ministry the way Jesus prepared his disciples for ministry, I’m not sure I would have made it.
While a lot of people would be grateful for the disciples, what they probably didn’t expect is that some people would end up dead because of their work.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death” (Matthew 10:21).
Without getting into all the historical details, some families were broken up because one of its members followed Jesus. The households loyal to Jewish laws and traditions would consider a relative who followed Jesus guilty of blasphemy, punishable by death. Eventually, households loyal to Rome would consider a relative who followed Jesus an insurrectionist. Their fate would be the Coliseum.
It was no accident, then, that the New Testament letters refer to the church using family terms such as brothers and sisters. Many of those first-century Christians were abandoned by their families of origin and had nowhere to go except to one another.
What they found is what we continue to find to this day. While the church on earth never will be perfect, the Spirit adopted us into a family that runs much deeper than genetics. This is a family where unconditional love is proclaimed and practiced. This is a family that doesn’t live under the threat of death, but rather under the promise of life.
Thank God for the family he gives you in his church!