Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The Promise of Persecution
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
The promises of God, are what every Christian clings to for hope and comfort. He promises us heaven, forgiveness of sin, every need supplied, grace greater than all our sin, the list is very extensive.
But here is a promise of Jesus for those who chose to serve Him and claim and proclaim His name - PERSECUTION.
The Greek word is "dioko" and it means that they will pursue the servants of the Lord and press them into suffering.
I don't suppose this is the ‘come on’ that we normally use to invite people to come to Christ. Imagine; "Hey, forget about forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven, focus on the fact that they might burn your house down, blacklist your business and take your kids from you. You could be hunted down, possibly jailed, tortured, maybe even killed! Now, what do you say, are you ready to trust Jesus?"
The fact is, it is a high privilege to suffer for His name's sake. Crowns await God's children who are persecuted for Him. Surely, none of us invite hard times or wish for heavier crosses to bear, but it would do western Christianity a world of good in that we would be driven to our knees, brought closer to the Lord and focus better on the work we are called to do if we were hounded by the enemy.
The truth is that many of the world's Christians are fully aware of the veracity of Jesus' promise of persecution. Perhaps those of us who live our Christian lives in relative freedom and ease need to bear the cross of praying diligently for those who are persecuted. We are the exception and not the rule. Perhaps the day is coming when all that will change.