John 16, Our world appears to be changing rapidly, and many are asking, is it out of control? Jesus prepared the disciples to know that even as the religious leaders were hostile to his presence and work, it would intensify after his departure. In light of that, Jesus said: “a time is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God.” Misguided by the ways of the enemy, believers then and now experience persecution for their faith. The question is before us: If persecution were to reach our shores, would we be ready to stand strong?
This is not a new phenomenon. Through the centuries, true believers have been excommunicated, beaten, and martyred; yet they remained faithful to the very end. Paul wrote: “For I can testify that they [the persecutors] are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth.” [Rom 10:2] Will we stand strong or fall away? The author of Hebrews reminds them that Jesus is better than the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, the Law, and the sacrificial system. We must remain strong and courageous!
Ironically the persecutors have failed to realize this truth: “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”[Rom 8:28] Beloved know this truth and cling to it and recall the words of Jesus: “take courage – I have conquered the world.” [Jn 16:33]
Therefore, remain steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord; [1Cor 15:58] remembering it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. [Rom 11:19]