In the tenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus sent the twelve out on a mission that is commonly called the limited commission. He told them that for their preaching they would be: hated (v. 22), verbally abused (v. 25), rejected and ostracized by family (v. 21, 34-37), persecuted (v. 23), delivered up to councils and government authorities (v. 17), beaten (v. 17), and even put to death (v. 21). In other words, there will be difficulties in this life after Christ (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12).
How were they to handle these difficulties? First, they were instructed to recall what Christ endured (v. 24-25). He has asked them to endure nothing above what He Himself had endured. Second, they were called to remember that they were valuable to God (v. 31). Regardless of how difficult things might have been, they were asked to remember that God loved them. Third, they were to be alert and wise, yet gentle even in persecution (v. 16-17). Four, they were to remember that this life is not all there is to man (v. 28). There is a part of man that survives, even physical death itself. There is an unending afterlife. Five, it was pointed out to them, that if they endured these difficulties to the end, a reward would be given them in Heaven (v. 22, 32-33). Sixth, they could find encouragement from the fact that those that did receive them, would be rewarded (v. 41-42 cf. 1 Timothy 4:16). “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) was their battle cry and motivation to go on.
When we face difficulties in life, let us remember these six points. God has not promised to remove all difficulties in this life, but He certainly has given us abundant principles to help us go onward. These seven points still apply to us today. “Onward Christian soldier, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see His banner go! Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before” (Song: Onward Christian Soldier by Sabine Baring-Gould).