When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for
truly I say to you, you will not have bone through all the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.
There are several conclusions which may be drawn from a statement like this one. There will always be opposition to the message of the Gospel. I once had a Pastor who grew up in an atheistic home. As a young man, despite his upbringing, this pastor was chosen by God to be a follower and he eventually heard the call to ordained ministry. In his new-found zeal for the Christian faith, this pastor determined that he must convert his mother to the faith. With every fiber of his being, he set out to win, cajole, harass, bargain, pursue, and argue with his mother about the beauty and joy of Christian faith. All to no avail. The harder he worked, the more she resisted. The pastor eventually realized he was only getting a sore head by "beating his head against that wall" and moved on to ministering to people who the Lord was sending to him. He continued to love and respect his mother, but without the pressure to convert her. In time, as he ministered faithfully to those he was called to serve, his mother came to recognize what was really going on. She was eventually baptized and confessed Christ before she died. First lesson: as stated in Ecclesiastes, there is a time and place for everything. Perhaps someone else is meant to minister in a different way in a difficult situation one finds themselves in.
In saying this, Jesus is also making clear that the lives of his disciples are precious to him and the Father. The disciples are not to seek persecution, encourage opposition, or even remain where they are opposed. It is permissible to flee. If martyrdom comes -- and it will for all but one of the apostles -- faithfulness in that situation will be honored, but we are free to flee if possible. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. Either way, Jesus tells the disciples that the Father holds them to be more precious than the sparrows which the Father does not allow to fall to the ground, (v. 31).
At the end of his instruction here, Jesus once again states what really matters: "Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father, " (vs. 32). There is always a home for the one who acknowledges the Lord.
Remember Whose you are,