“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, because the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you falsely and say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets before you.” Matthew 5:10-12.
Following God has never been easy and, quite frankly, it isn’t supposed to be. God gives us salvation and eternal life through Christ, and in return, we are to wholly submit our lives to Him. We are to strive to be righteous people and serve God in all we do. Those who have no care for God are baffled by this; the fact that we really have no desire for this world upsets them, even makes them uncomfortable. When we put God first in our lives, we are putting ourselves at odds with the world.
But the world is not content just to sit idly by and let us serve our God. Quite the contrary is true. The more we try to ignore the world and focus on the things of God, the more the world tries to lure us back in, and it will use any means necessary to do so. When all the world’s attempts to distract us fail, the world wants to be rid of us, and it is very eager and willing to try anything to be rid of God’s people.
Christ gave us this warning 2000 years ago. History has proven His words correct. The world has spared no time or effort in trying to expunge Christ’s followers and teachings from Earth. Even before the time of Christ, the righteous prophets sent from God met the same fate. But Christ’s warning carries with it a note of inspiration– we know we are successfully doing His work if the world is persecuting us. The world takes action against us because it is threatened by us and our beliefs. If we weren’t a threat to the world, then the world would leave us alone. Christ tells us to be glad and rejoice when the world persecutes us, because we are following in the footsteps of the prophets, but more importantly, in His footsteps.
Christ will be with us no matter what we endure. We can face anything the world can throw at us. Be glad and rejoice, Christ is with us and will see us through to the end.
The following is a list of notable Old Testament prophets, the 12 Disciples, and Paul and the fates they met:
Isaiah- sawn in two.
Jeremiah- stoned to death.
Amos- tortured to death.
Peter- crucified upside down.
John the beloved- only apostle to die a natural death in old age.
Andrew- crucified on an X-shaped cross.
Bartholomew (Nathaniel)- skinned alive, then beheaded.
Matthew- axed to death.
Thomas- killed with spears.
John the lesser- stoned, then beaten to death.
Jude- beaten to death, then his corpse was beheaded.
Simon the Zealot- sawn in two.
Matthias (Judas Iscariot’s replacement)- stoned to death, then his corpse was beheaded.
Paul- beheaded in Rome.
The killing of Christians did not end in Rome. Currently, Christianity is either banned or illegal in 52 countries. In these countries, Christians are regularly attacked, beaten, imprisoned, and killed. Pray for our fellow believers. They surely would pray for us.