Mark 13:9-13, But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 5:10-12, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
John 16:33, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
For those of us in the West, we are often surprised, and at times angered when the world hates us, criticizes us, and persecutes us. Of course, we shouldn’t be. Over and over again, Jesus warned His followers that persecution from a lost and dying world was to be expected. In fact, both Jesus and the apostle Paul taught us to rejoice when persecution and suffering comes from the and of our “enemies.”
Yet, why are we so surprised when it comes? Why are we so angry when it comes to pass?
Jesus not only taught His followers to expect hatred and persecution. He also taught them to forgive the offenders, to love them, pray for them, and do good to them. Jesus said absolutely nothing about criticizing them, cursing them, condemning them, or casting stones at them, which we have become accustomed to doing!
Matthew 5:43-48, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Let’s heed the warning of Jesus and expect the hatred and persecution, and, at the same time, let’s follow His admonition to love, do good, forgive, bless, and pray for those who might bring it!