Having said that the Day of the Lord will not be in the immediate future, Jesus gives more details about what kinds of things will happen before then. Wars, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences will sweep across the earth at various times. “Terrors and great signs from heaven” (v. 11) is an interesting phrase, and it may mean that these things will happen periodically before the end times too. If so, they are an expression of God’s mercy, by giving people a chance to repent of their sins and follow Him before they are swept away in judgement.
Before all these things, though, the followers of Jesus will be persecuted and handed over to the authorities. Jesus encourages His disciples by saying that He will give them the words to speak at that time, so that the rulers will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel as well. Whether the rulers repent and believe is not the disciples’ concern, though, for some will and some won’t. Some disciples will be set free, some will be beaten and imprisoned, and some will be put to death.
And yet, Jesus says not one of them will perish. This only makes sense if there is life after death, and in this way Jesus has promised His followers that He will take care of them even through death, for it is not the end of them. Being faithful to Jesus is more important than preserving our own lives because our relationship with Him will last so much longer than the short time we have on this earth.
Give us the endurace to pursue You over our own self-interests.