Jesus knows that following Him may not be a “bed of roses”.
Jesus tells us about it in advance.
We may get persecuted. We may even be martyred. It happens every day. Will you “sign up” to follow Jesus if you know that tomorrow someone may kill you for believing Him?
Of course, living in America makes if feel like being a martyr isn’t an issue; that it can’t happen to us. Because of that we are lulled into thinking it doesn’t happen to anyone any longer.
It’s not just about being a martyr though. 100 million Christians around the globe are currently suffering. They are real, and they are our brothers and sisters in the Messiah.
As followers of the Messiah, we are called to take a stand for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Learn more at Open Doors on how you can help persecuted Christians.
Now here is the rub. Jesus also knows the benefit of being persecuted. Persecution drives (the deeply committed) deeper into His Father’s world.
You’re blessed (more than happy) when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
~Jesus (Matthew 5:10 The Message)