How can I receive the protection of God? That is a great question. Let’s talk about it.
The protection of God? Are we looking for earthly benefits that come from following Jesus?
Ten of Jesus’ twelve disciples (except the traitor Judas and the Apostle John) died as martyrs because of their faith in Jesus. Jesus Himself explained:
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you…. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18, 20).
Why Do We Follow Jesus?
When Jesus’ disciples started following Jesus, they had various reasons. And some of their motives were selfish. They knew Jesus was the Messiah who would someday reign over a glorious Kingdom and bring heavenly conditions to earth. As the Lord’s Prayer says: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Those conditions will exist when Jesus reigns on earth.
The disciples wanted the glory that comes with helping Jesus reign in that Kingdom. But they didn’t understand the price they’d have to pay for those choice seats. Jesus’ route to the throne went through the cross.
James and John were two of Jesus’ twelve disciples. They were part of the inner group of three, along with Peter, who were closer to Jesus than the other nine. Jesus took them with Him when some key events happened. For example, they were with Him when He was transfigured (Mark 9:1) and when He raised a girl from the dead (Mark 5:37).
Yet they revealed their selfish ambition in their conversations, and Jesus knew it. Jesus asked them what they were arguing about ‘on the way’:
“But they kept silent, for … they had disputed who was the greatest among themselves. He (Jesus) sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:33-35).
How Can I Receive the Protection of God?
That isn’t what they had in mind, and it’s not what many people have in mind when they decide to follow Jesus. They’re hoping their worldly troubles will decrease, not increase. But the latter is more likely.
The disciples’ improper ambition is worse because Jesus and His disciples were on a journey. They were ‘on the way’ to Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was the end of the road … for Jesus. He had already told His disciples — three times on the way — how His journey would end:
“He was teaching His disciples, saying, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. After He is killed, He will rise the third day” (Mark 9:31).
They looked for glory (protection) while Jesus marched to His death! The contrast is stunning.
Believers are Under God’s Protection
So, in what sense did God protect Jesus’ disciples? As believers, they were under God’s protection. Job was a believer, and Satan complained that God had a hedge around Job that protected him:
(The Adversary asked), “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands” (Job 1:10),
Nothing Can Happen to Us as Believers Unless God Allows it
We live in a fallen world, and Jesus came to save us, but our salvation was not from all the troubles of this world. But we can rest knowing we’re always in our Father’s hands.
And we can pray to Jesus for deliverance from spiritual attack, sickness, and other troubles. But, for unknown reasons, we’re not always delivered – in this life! — from the effects of living in this fallen world.
The hymn Am I a Soldier of the Cross? by Isaac Watts puts it this way:
“Must I be carried to the skies, On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?”
The most crucial protection God gives us is not in this world or this life.
How can I receive the protection of God? He promises the ‘conquerors,’ those who faithfully follow Him, that the second death can’t hurt us:
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life…. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Revelation 2:10-11).
Jesus died for us. His road to His Kingdom reign ran through the cross. Is it appropriate for Jesus’ followers to expect ‘flow’ry beds of ease?’
To find out more about how to follow Jesus, please watch the Great News video on this page.