The act of harassing, oppressing, or killing people because of their difference from society. Christians are persecuted because their belief inJesus Christ as Savior does not conform to the godlessness of asinful world.
The Bible records persecution of God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments. Neighboring tribes such as the Philistines and Amalekites constantly attacked the ancient Jews because they rejected idolatry and worshiped the one True God.
The Pharisees persecuted Jesus because he did not follow their man-made legalism. Following Christ’s death,resurrection and ascension, organized persecution of the early church started. One of its most zealous opponents was Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul.
After Paul converted to Christianity and became a missionary, the Roman Empire began to terrorize Christians. Paul was beheaded by order of the emperor Nero, and the Apostle Peter was reported to have been crucified upside down in a Roman arena. Killing Christians turned into a form of entertainment in Rome, as believers were executed in the stadium by wild animals, torture, and being set on fire.
From that time forward, Christians still have been persecuted all over the world.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus prophesied that his followers would be attacked:
Christ also promised rewards to those who endure persecution:
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12, NIV)
Finally, Paul reminded that Jesus stands with us through all trials:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35, NIV)
Bible References: Deuteronomy 30:7; Psalms 9:13, 69:26, 119:157, 161; Matthew 5:11, 44, 13:21; Mark 4:17; Luke 11:49, 21:12; John 5:16, 15:20; Acts 7:52, 8:1, 11:19, 9:4, 12:11, 13:50, 26:14; Romans 8:35, 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:7;Hebrews 10:33; Revelation 2:10.
Example: Persecution drove the early church under ground and helped it spread.
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.
VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150
QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.”
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