Jesus, like any of us, did not like persecution. Who enjoys beatings, broken bones and bloodshed? However, Jesus knew he had a Kingdom job to accomplish.
Serving his heavenly Father anchored top spot in the daily work of Jesus. He knew well that role would invite persecution. So here we have some of the many conundrums that shape New Covenant Christianity.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, brought a sword that would divide and cause conflict in families and religious groups. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, did little to avoid the appearance of evil. He ate and drank with the village sinners. He touched leper victims. He chatted alone with Samaritan women at wells.
He and the disciples ate grain on the Sabbath and Jesus even healed people on the Sabbath with a captive audience that would have their consciences jolted! During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus chose non-attendance until the last day of the Feast, and when he showed up he turned the Jerusalem world upside down with his teachings.
A practicing Christian is considered a troublemaker in this world of darkness. Practicing Christians inadvertently invited persecution, yet carry on with the Kingdom Work with an eternal hope that fuels their zeal.
This lifestyle is a daily routine for millions of Jesus followers around this dark world. They know no other walk. Their footsteps land in Jesus footsteps, and for many in the Middle East and across North Africa, martyrdom is also their destiny.
Thank you for your daily prayers for the persecuted church. Someday we will share eternity with those brothers and sisters, and rejoice with our Lord and Savior!
Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-919-1490. Hear more about the persecuted church at 6 p.m., every Saturday on KWXC 88.9 FM Christian talk radio.