In Matthew 10
, Jesus warned that persecution would come to the disciples.
He said that he was sending them out as "sheep in the midst of wolves," so they should be both "wise as serpents" and "innocent as doves." Men would try to cause them harm, and even brothers, fathers, and children would rise against them unto death. Those that endure to the end would be saved.
Jesus told his disciples to have no fear for persecution. There was nothing hidden that would not be revealed. The words that Jesus spoke to them in private, they would proclaim loudly on the housetops. They should not fear death, because their enemies could not kill their soul. Instead, they should fear the one that can destroy both body and soul in hell.
He asked them, "Isn't it very cheap to purchase two sparrows? Yet neither one will fall to the ground apart from the Father in Heaven." Even the hairs of their heads were numbered, and they were more valuable than many sparrows.
Everyone that acknowledges Jesus before men, Jesus would acknowledge to God the Father. Whoever denies Jesus before men, Jesus would deny before God the Father.
Jesus cautioned them not to think He came to bring peace to the earth. He had not come to bring peace but war. He came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother. He said that whoever loves their father or mother more than Him was not worthy of Christ. For any man to find life, he must first lose his life for Christ's sake. Whoever loses his life for Christ's sake will find it again.
Jesus said that whoever receives his disciples receives Christ, and whoever received Christ received God who sent Him. Those that receives a prophet would only receive a prophet's reward. Those who received a righteous person would receive a righteous person's reward.
Whoever is kind enough to give one of the little ones even a small cup of water because he is a disciple would by no means lose his reward.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Do we fear persecution? Are we "wise as serpents?" Are we "innocent as doves?" Do we think that there is something hidden that only our small group has? Do we acknowledge Jesus before others? Do they even know we are Christians? Have we given up everything to serve Him? Do we receive those sent by God to preach the Word? Have we received Christ?