Persecution is hostility, cruel and extreme mistreatment of an individual or group of people by another individual or group of people.
Persecution arises because of someone’s political differences, religious beliefs, and ethnicity which is totally hated by another person. This can come from our friends, families, government and even co-workers.
Sometimes people persecute you for nothing, only because you are not among their group. There are many today who are passing through some forms of mistreatment, betrayal and wicked acts from those who don’t just want them around.
When we encounter such experiences, many tend to lose faith in God. But today Jesus has some words for you, especially if you truly have faith in Him.
A little Digest
Today’s gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ prediction of the danger that will befall the people which hence will be followed by the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.
Jesus tells the people that there will be extreme hunger, earthquakes, many fearful events and great signs from heaven. Before these happen, the disciples are to undergo serious persecution which may come from the political and religious circles.
They will undergo betrayals even from the people they least expect. But Jesus encourages the people to instead use that opportunity to bear witness to Him instead of losing hope entirely. Hence, He promises His abiding presence and grace whenever these happen.
Luke wrote this at a time when Christians were undergoing tribulations. It was then like a reminder for the people to remember Jesus’ words and use it as a source of encouragement as they undergo any form of persecution and hatred.
The Time of Persecution
In this gospel, Jesus reminds His disciples that the time of persecution is a time when their faith in Him will be put to test.
Therefore, the time of persecution is a time to show how strong our faith in God is and not the time to lose hope in God and begin to seek a solution elsewhere. It is thereby a time to stand firm and not a time to lose hope in God.
At this time, people may make a mockery of what you believe. They will remind you how faithful you are to God but yet things are so difficult for you.
Some people will remind you how your God has refused to answer your prayers for long. They will fight and attack you both spiritually and physically. Some of them will use your name and maim you at the back only for nothing sake.
They may even lie with your name and betray you at the back. Jesus reminds His disciples that such kinds of experiences will surely come.
So, to be a Christian is not only on the glory part of it. It is not only for miracles, signs, wonders, testimonies etc.
There will surely be a time of affliction, hatred, attack, betrayal, etc. These can even come from your friends, families, and those we least expect.
Always bear in mind that your faith in God, gifts, talents, progress, religious inclinations, etc can create hostility and hatred for some group of people. But these moments are opportunities to remain steadfast and prove our faith in God.
In the Midst of Persecution
Today, Jesus reveals three things His disciples ought to do when they go through the persecution of any kind.
In the midst of persecution is a great opportunity to bear witness to Him and show how truly strong our faith is.
It is not a time we complain or blame God for everything we are passing through. This is not a time to enlist all the good deeds you have done and yet God keeps quiet on you. It is an opportunity to bear testimony to God as the apostles did.
Secondly, Jesus promises His ever-abiding presence, wisdom and grace at this time. It is not a time to shiver on what to do and what not to do. This is not a time to fear, despite the challenges.
It is a time to remain strong and courageous, knowing fully well that God’s presence is with you. So, it is a time to remain close to God and not away from God.
He knows every detail of what you are passing through. God knows how to rescue you. He promises in the gospel that you can never be defeated, and not a single of your hair will be lost.
Finally, Jesus asks His disciples to remain strong and persevere to the end.
Revelation 2:10 says, never be afraid of whatever you are about to suffer in your life, the devil is ready to put many to the test but be also ready to persevere even to the point of death.
So, It is time to prove to the devil that your love for God is beyond material things. This type of attitude will never go without a reward.
Whatever people say or do to you, persevere and remain strong. Let nothing separate us from the love of God, not even hardship or persecution (Romans 8:35).
If you are undergoing any form of persecution, use it as a way to show God that you can be faithful to Him despite any circumstance.
May God bless you dearest and give you the grace to remain steadfast in the midst of challenges. May His abiding presence remain with you even when you think all hope is lost. Amen