John 15:20, “Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
Today more disciples are suffering persecution than ever before. These precious saints suffer because of only one reason, they obey the teachings of Jesus, their beloved Master. According to Open Doors (a Christian ministry serving the persecuted church), it’s estimated that each month 322 Christians are murdered, 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians. Their only “crime” was that they believed in Jesus Christ as their great God and Savior. As God said in Hebrews 11:38, “The world was not worthy of them.”
Right now in our world there are thousands of Christians being displaced from their homes, arrested, abused, raped, murdered or threatened for their faith in Jesus. Let us never forget them but be motivated by their courage!
The two biggest reasons for persecution are; (1) Islam and (2) Communism. According to Pew Research, 75% of the Christian population lives in dangerous areas. Such places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt have some of the highest rates of violence in the Islamic world. And even such nations like Nigeria where Christianity is the majority religion; many of the Muslims terrorize the innocent Christians by burning their churches and destroying their property in hopes of stopping the rapid growth. Tertullian, during the time of great persecution under Rome wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians.”
At the same time, communist countries like China, North Korea and Vietnam restrict the gospel and persecute disciples that break their state policy of “anti-evangelism” and “non-registered church gatherings.” North Korea is by far the worst example of a “state run religion” in a communist country. All those who live there and reject “emperor worship” and promote Christianity are arrested, sent to concentration camps, tortured physically and are subjected to mental torture through “re-education.”
At the same time, though some of us may not live in a nation where persecution can result in physical harm or loss of property; many of us in the West suffer persecution in the form of family rejection, public mocking, ridicule, oppression on our jobs and intolerance. Therefore, no matter where you live or how bad you’re being hated for the name of Jesus, don’t think it strange. If they rejected and crucified Jesus, our Master and Teacher, how much more will they hate us as His disciples? Let us rejoice when we are hated for the name of Christ, for that is same way the God-haters treated all the prophets and disciples (Matthew 5:11-12)!
Have you ever suffered persecution?
- Pray for the persecuted Christians around the world.
- Consider how you can support the persecuted disciples around the world.
- Rejoice in your times of persecution because you are being honored to suffer for the name of Christ (1 Peter 1:6).