“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”
As noted in the previous post on Luke 21, I can’t apply the notion that this address by Jesus is directed to me or to anyone else that was not present before him that particular day. I cannot commandeer it for my own use and for my own interpretation, because the rules of usage forbid such things. It is clearly then not addressed to anyone today or anyone in the remote past, not in the near or distant future. And so we do not have to look out for these signs or have these concerns – it’s already long gone.
I’m relatively certain no synagogue or king is going to be coming after me or you, too. They couldn’t care less. Yet the book of Acts specifically and repeatedly records that the apostles and disciples did have such encounters and situations.
Therefore, we today are not and were not the persons being addressed; those folks are dead. The old (but accurate) saw says that the Bible was written for me, but it was not written to me. We all ought to memorize that one.
The following three verses also indicate by their tense (in any language) that the events occurred long ago; and, of course the audience of disciples there addressed have long ago left the building.
“Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost.”
Which of you reading this has been betrayed by family and friends and sent over to the palace or to the synagogue for a mock trial?
For that matter, I have lost a lot of hair, but my balding pate and my thinning hair is not being addressed, nor is anyone else’s I have ever known.