Matthew 5:11-12, “11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The gospel will always be resisted by some people and result in persecution because Jesus promised that it would. Jesus said in Matthew 10:24, “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master” and in John 15:18 He promised, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
If you do what Jesus did you’ll be treated like how Jesus was treated.
When you go and preach the gospel some people will love you, accept what you say and follow Jesus’ commands and others will hate you, persecute you and try to harm you. However, we as Christ’s disciples should not fear death or man, but rather we should only fear God. A wise man once said, “Don’t fear a short life, but a wasted life!”
Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” In other words, we should fear being disobedient to God’s command to preach the gospel more than we fear what people might do to us.
We are to follow the example of Christ who loved His enemies, forgave His tormentors and willingly gave His life for us all. When faced with the plan of God to suffer for His people Jesus humbly prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Consequently, Jesus was obedient to the Father even unto death and we should be willing to do the same. John said, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).
When we face times of persecution may we have the same humility and love for God to pray what the first disciples prayed in Acts 4:29-30, “29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Whether by life of by death, may Jesus be glorified in us. Let us live by the motto of the Moravian church, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.”
Are you willing to suffer persecution for the sake of Christ?
- Repent of the fear of death or the fear of man if these fears have prevented you from being fully obedient to Christ’s command to preach in public.
- Ask God for boldness to preach in the midst of persecution.
- Forgive your enemies for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).