Matthew's inclusion of material concerning persecution (compare Mk 13:9-13) in his discourse on the kingdom mission indicates his view that persecution and proclamation are inseparable (see likewise Acts or Paul's letters, such as Paul's defense of his apostleship in 2 Cor 11:23-33). True ministry involves suffering, especially if it is a frontline ministry to nonbelievers; I have been beaten and threatened more than once for ministry on the streets. Yet as Jesus reminds us in the next section, the worst our opponents can do to us is kill us, and we will die anyway with or without their persecution (Mt 10:24-33). Because persecution is a guarantee for a true disciple (2 Tim 3:12), we may question the strength of our witness if we are not experiencing any (compare, for example, Mt 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; 14:22; Gal 5:11; 1 Thess 3:3; Rev 1:9-though these are most applicable where the gospel seriously violates long-standing cultural traditions).
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