Persecutions

The first things that come to mind as we consider the sufferings of Christ are the persecutions He suffered from the Jews, and the crucifixion He suffered at the hands of the Romans due to the insistence of the Jews. His sufferings and death were all according to the pre-determined plan and foreknowledge of God the Father (Acts 2:23), whereby His only begotten Son would give Himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of His people (Matthew 1:21, John 10:11, 14-15). This message was vehemently rejected and opposed by many of the Pharisees and scribes, who were the religious leaders among the Jews of that day.

 

God has called some of His people to suffer persecution to the point of physical death because of opposition to the Gospel of Christ. The martyrs will certainly be numbered among those who receive the greatest reward in Heaven, having shared in the sufferings of Christ to the extent that it cost them their lives.

 

Most of us however will suffer persecution to much lesser degrees because we are Christians. Perhaps this persecution will take the form of mocking, ridicule, rejection, or various conflicts where an unbeliever is involved. Being rejected simply because we are believers will prove to be a common experience for us. Even subconsciously some unbelievers will not be fully aware themselves why they dislike us, but they know that they do indeed dislike us, and maybe they will even detest and despise us. This subconscious disdain is a manifestation of the spiritual enmity that exists between believers and those of the world. Others will fully realize why they

 

dislike us when we refuse to approve of or participate with them in things that the word of God calls sin (1 Peter 4:4).

 

Experiencing persecution to some degree is certainly one aspect of Jesus’ sufferings that we as believers will all experience, as Paul taught us when he wrote to Timothy: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12).

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