“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.” Mark 12:13
Since the inception of the Christian Church, mankind has witnessed the blood of martyrs splattered across the pages of history. And although manifested in different forms, Christian persecution persists to this very day: across continents, within countries, in communities, at places of work, within families. How and when did the persecution begin?
It began with Jesus Christ. He died a violent death, put to death on the cross. Why? Because he proclaimed that he was the Son of God, that he was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These were his very words, as witnessed by his apostles, his disciples, and as documented by four separate Gospel writers.
Some of those who heard him may have said: “how brazen, what gall.” The scribes and Pharisees in particular were beside themselves. They rent their clothes. They screamed. They plotted. They got their pound of flesh. They were not followers, but stalkers, trying to catch Jesus in His words, doubting Him from the very start, and at every turn.
But Jesus Christ had followers, and his followers believed in Him. They believed His words, His teachings, and the things He said about Himself. No one comes to the Father except through Him. They cling to this as truth.
How insensitive this view is towards other religions. How politically and sociologically incorrect! Who is this Christ, this carpenter that compels a person to leave everything and follow Him? What sheer madness. Emperors got riled that their subjects adored this Christ, this carpenter, above them. The world is irritated at their peculiar behavior, at the light in their hearts and in their eyes, their faces shining with joy. So the powers fed Christ’s followers to the lions, led them to their deaths at the hands of gladiators. They stoned them and spat upon them. And some they crucified.
Christ polarizes people. Either His claims about Himself were those of a lunatic, or His words are truth. He requires total commitment. Either you believe in Him, or doubt His words. Either you are a follower, a stalker, or something else.
And if a follower, then at this very moment, you share in the fellowship of His sufferings. You become a target for persecution.
By D.G. Vachal © 2012
*** posted at Narita airport, en route to somewhere in Asia
Completely and totally awesome… I don’t mind being persecuted because of Christ!!!
Thank you, Ramona, for your comment and for visiting my site. The Lord bless you richly! Dee
I do so appreciate your words Dee. I see so much of the church shining through but I hesitate – I do – there is a too good to be true shine to them sometimes. I hear peace, love, etc – but peace like our very souls in a work in progress – Christ to me – and yes I do believe He is the Way the Truth and the Light – is not about peace on this earth but about peace in his promise – in short right now this very moment, there is hell to pay for many believers – for us in that we believe.
Thank you, Sandra. Yes, it is true what you way that peace like our very souls is a work in progress. Following Christ entails a decision and as He said we have to count the cost of following Him. Thanks again and God bless you! Dee
p.s. will get to read your wonderful posts once I am settled after traveling across to the other side of the world – still in transit 😉
Just be safe 🙂
thanks, Sandra. 🙂
Excellent post, Dee. As the Word says, “Indeed all who ..are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand] (2 Timothy 3:12 AMP). And you hit the nail on the head when you said, ‘either He is just Who He said He is, or He’s not.’ There is no in-between, no grey area to debate about…either He is the Son of God, or He is not, period. And He requires a firm decision from each of us, sooner or later – He tells us to have a backbone and be either ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ toward Him, and not lukewarm (though, actually, lukewarm is gonna be treated just as cold is – it’s gonna be spit out by Him – Revelation 3:15-16).
The wonderful thing is that although persecution is all around us -and even directed toward us – if we’re actually dwelling in the secret place (by obedience to Christ;and remembering the promised protection and provision of that [Ps 91; John 15:10]), whatever’s happening we can still have the peace of mind to know that everything will be alright for us…because He promised it. And, either His Word to us is true and worthy of our confidence, or it’s not. Again, that’s the decision we make…to trust in Him completely…and we must make it daily, in the face of whatever comes against us. Thanks again, Dee…
Thank you so much for your additional insights, Lester. Yes, how wonderful that in spite of the persecution, sneers and rejection all around us, we dwell in the protective secret place of the Most High. Following Christ means to believe in His words, and not doubt and fudge around them, and following Christ involves a definitive decision. The Lord bless you, Lester. Dee
Dee, it’s funny in a way I think. So many today are quick to turn away from God because they are persecuted (where was God when that happened to me) ~ and yet, there lies a very important lesson. Not to abide in His love would mean that we stop believing that we are loved (and seek approval from those who persecute us). We look at our circumstances – perhaps desolation or disease or abandonment – and we conclude that we are not loved by God anymore. That’s the opposite of abiding in the love of Christ. Abiding in His love means that regardless the way or the difficulty, we are surrounded by faith that we are loved. In that understanding, we are home and we can never be made less than love made us in the beginning. ~ Beautiful, Dee. ~ Love, Bobbie
Dear Bobbie, persecution is a test which leads to the natural reaction of turning away from God. But you are so right in pointing to the important and profound lesson: that not to abide in God’s love would mean we stop believing we are loved. Indeed abiding in his love is key to our staying in faith. Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughts. Love, Dee (p.s. apologies for the late response as I have been traveling). xoxoxo
I hope it has been a journey of renewal and beauty…… xoxoxo
Hi Bobbie, I am still in the midst of this journey, on the other side of the world! Love, Dee
…well, since I am unsure as to where home is, I’m not sure where the other side of the world is……….but know that it is only a thought away……from where I am. xoxo
Since I am unsure as to where home is for you, Dee, I’m not sure where the other side of the world is……….but know that it is only a thought away……from where I am. xoxo
Hi Bobbie, home is East Coast USA for me, but you are so right, where I am is only a thought away from where you are …xoxo
When I chose to respond to the Lord’s calling to follow him, I lost some friends I had been very close to. But the ones I gained were so much more healthy and real. We truly love and sharpen each other. Jesus is worthy of our all! ~ Wendy
Dear Wendy, what you experienced was exactly what the Lord said that the servant is not above one’s Master — if they persecuted Him, so shall they persecute His followers. Thank you, Wendy, for sharing this. God bless you! Dee
Wonderful word, Dee! This brings to mind the promise…that “…our light and momentary troubles are building up for us a greater weight in glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Also, Psalm 34: 19: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them ALL!” Praise the Lord!
Amen, Susan! Thank you for the reminder that it is the Lord Who delivers us out of not some, but ALL our afflictions! Blessings to you! Dee
came to read this post again…and have enjoyed reading the comments too. a wonderful discussion. and where´s my poem? i miss you.
Hi Lorna thank you for stopping by. I am in Asia and my time is a bit preoccupied. Hope to post soon! God bless!
oh, have a wonderful time!! God bless and keep you!
Thank you so much, Lorna! I am back on the East Coast. 🙂