From it’s humble, yet miraculous, beginning as a prayer meeting attended by 120 devoted followers of Jesus Christ, the church has been ridiculed, persecuted, and under attack.
Each of the original disciples, with the obvious exception of Judas, suffered greatly for their testimonies of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Nearly all of them were killed for their faith.
Paul endured beatings, arrest, being stoned and verbally abused because he had come tI recognize (and preach) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The church’s earliest martyr was Stephen – a man whose practical ministry was to assist widows. His ministry to the widows didn’t seem to bother anyone; however, when miracles began to occur, the scrutiny began. Ultimately it was his declaration and explanation of the Gospel that turned the ungodly religious leaders against him, resulting in him being stoned.
Being kind won’t get you in trouble. Being an advocate for social-justice issues won’t make enemies. Even being an activist for particular groups and issues will go uncontested.
But take a public, verbal stand for faith in Jesus Christ and you will quickly find yourself being scrutinized and judged.
Believer- Jesus Himself was persecuted. Why would we think that we can avoid it?
In fact, Jesus told us that we WOULD be persecuted – increasingly, as the Day of the Lord draws near.
John records these words in his revelation:
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”Revelation 6:9-11 ESV
Persecution, although painful, is momentary; but it’s rewards are eternal.
Have faith in Jesus. Live out your faith boldly. Let grace be your response amidst persecution. Keep eternity in your sight.
Your redemption draws nigh.