Egyptian church burns
The persecution of Christians began before there really were Christians, per se. Jesus accepted abuse from the established religious authorities of the day throughout His ministry years on earth. It launched in a broader way after He was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane to be tortured and crucified.
This element of the Christian faith has never waned.
In fact, Jesus told us: “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you, also.”
We see that this persecution created a major part of the character of the early church through those in Jerusalem, followers such as Ignatius and Polycarp, the thousands that were sent to the coliseum to be fed to ravenous beasts, and the countless numbers hunted throughout the Roman Empire for three centuries.
Yet the faith spread like wildfire during these centuries. Persecution continued in small and great waves through to the Reformation. (Many men acting through the power of the state “church,” were clearly not Christians.)
And persecution continues to be a part of the Christian life for hundreds of millions of followers to this day. From the horrors of North Korea to the attempts to crush the underground church in Communist China to the violent destruction of churches by Muslim sects in the Middle East to the battle for hearts and souls through Central Africa, the persecution of those who follow Christ continues.
North Korean Christian beaten
Chinese churches being torn down.
It’s helpful to remember that what is going on today is not new. Just the details are changed.
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3.
Read more on how followers prevailed in their Christian walk, and their connection to each other and all of use here.
The Roman Coliseum