"And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' And I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'" - Acts 22:7-8
We are the Body of Christ. The Lord Jesus takes it personally when Christians are persecuted, imprisoned, and killed, because we are His Body. It is personal.
Around the world today more Christians are being persecuted for their faith than ever before. Here, where we live, we hardly see anything of this. In God’s mercy we have been spared for centuries. An occasional critical remark, some political opposition - which is growing and becoming more threatening - but nothing like what our brothers and sisters face daily in much of the world.
We rarely even hear about these things, because there is a conspiracy of silence in the press. The news never reports the crucifixions, beheadings, and hangings that take place every day in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, or Syria; the mass murders, kidnappings and enslavement of Christians in northern Africa; imprisonment and torture in North Korea, China, and Cuba, all happening to Christians because of their faith.
The world pretends it isn’t happening. The press refuses to report it or if they ever mention it, they attribute it to ethnic or political rivalries. But the Lord takes it personally, even as He seeks the salvation of the persecutors.
Just as He gave His body to torturers and murderers so that you and I could find forgiveness, deliverance and salvation, so His body today suffers abuse and persecution as we seek the salvation of the world.
Lord Jesus, look upon the suffering of Your saints. Give faith, endurance, and courage. Bring the persecutors to repentance and salvation, like You did for the Apostle Paul. Show us, who live in freedom from such persecution, what we can do to minister in Christian love to our brothers and sisters; in Your name and for Your sake we pray. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles