In this next section of Matthew 10 (vv. 21-25), we find a chain-link phenomenon connected to much of missional work even today. The missional person who is devoted to creating the way of Jesus in a liminal situation (a situation unmapped or unknown or new and different) may well experience personal betrayal, but betrayal is to be met with perseverance for both of these elements — betrayal and perseverance — are part of Jesus’ own Kingdom path.
Jesus goes so far to tell his Apostles that they will be hated by all because of “his name.” Association of Jesus does not mean that all days are happy days; association with Jesus sometimes involves opposition. Why? Because of the way of the Kingdom of God cuts against the grain of cultural powers; it also cuts against the grain of ingrained, routine, ritualized Christian ways.
But, Jesus calls his missioners to perseverance and even tells them that if they don’t persevere to the end they will not be saved. Once one has taken the Kingdom path, there can be no looking back. (This can get dicey, I’ll admit. Sometimes we think we are doing what is right and it is not right. But, we have limited lights and we are called to press on.)
Why is perseverance so needed? Because Jesus, too, persevered. Association with Jesus is association, Matthew tells us, with the path of opposition. Jesus is Teacher — disciples (in this case) are not better than teachers. If Kingdom opponents (like those who offered John’s head on a platter) malign Jesus, how much more will they malign his followers?
Let me encourage those of you out there who are striking into new regions, who dwell in liminality, to press on in the name of Jesus and the Kingdom. Opposition may come and, if your work is in the name of Jesus, your work is God’s work.