If we are going to follow Jesus, then it seems that we are going to get cross-ways with religious people some times. In John 16:1-4, He tells His guys that they are going to be kicked out of church, and eventually killed because of what they believe; and people are genuinely going to believe that they are helping God because of it.
No wonder they ran when Jesus was arrested. No wonder Peter was carrying a sword in the garden. I mean, somehow I have never put these warnings of Jesus together with the fact that they were going to see it come together in a few days. Jesus tells them its going to happen, and that they will have to work to keep from going astray, but I’m not sure that the pacifist, sacrificial language really had sunk in with them yet. Just the threat that they would die for Him.
Carrying on with yesterday’s post, how much of this is applicable to our time in the U.S. today? Clearly, the warnings Jesus gave came true, and quickly. It happened to Peter and John, who were arrested and kicked out of the temple. No wonder John remembers this in his writings. It happened to Stephen, who was killed by the priests for blasphemy. It happened all through the early church, as Rome killed people for their faith. It has happened consistently throughout history, as someone in the church has been killed for what they believed in some part of the world. It happens today, in Sudan, Egypt, Liberia, Chad, and other countries in the Mideast. It is happening today in China, as pastors of secret house churches are arrested and disappear.
What of us? Are we expected to live in such a way as to be persecuted? Do we lack persecution because of God’s blessings, or because of our lack of passion? I do not know. Any ideas?