“Jesus said, ‘Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.'”
Persecution of Christians is rising dramatically in the world today. Hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide are victimized or murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ. The U.S. State Department noted that these deaths occurred in areas of political instability or cultural transition. They were due to changing political values brought about by a change in religion. Foreign culture took control and violence followed. Attacks against Christians and Jews are a global concern to many of us even though others seek to ignore it.
What are we to make of these things? Jesus clearly taught His disciples that the world first hated Him and that the world would in turn hate them/us. So we should not be surprised that there are those who think and act out evil against us. It is a spiritual issue of two worlds colliding. For instance, in Turkey during the Easter season of 2007, three Christians were brutally attacked and tortured to death over a period of four hours simply because they believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Their Muslim assailants wholeheartedly believed that they were serving Allah by following the Quran and killing Christians.
This scenario is incredibly common around the world. Does it mean that God has abandoned us? No. Does it mean that He is judging us? No. It means that there are some in the body of Christ who, throughout history, have been called to follow Jesus faithfully unto death. Not all Christians will die from martyrdom as some will grow old and some will become ill. But know this for sure…the Lord will never leave any one of us alone.
The truth is, when persecution comes, the Church grows more pure. Is Jesus Christ that real to you? Are you His disciple, even if it means death? If so, God’s grace will overpower any fear that may come upon you.
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