All of us would prefer to live a life free of persecution. No one wakes up thinking, “Wow, I hope someone will persecute me today!” But everyone who calls Jesus Lord knows persecution will come their way. For some, it will be physical, for some mental, and for others, it will be social persecution. No matter how it manifests itself, Jesus promises we will face persecution in this world (John 15:20).
For some, that one fact is enough to make them reject Christ. It’s a hard sell for most people. They can’t see past this life here and now and understand what they will gain by receiving Christ and holding fast until the end. The promise of persecution is enough to make anyone hesitant and nervous. Jesus knew the persecution that was coming, and He didn’t flinch. Instead, He embraced it for you.
Few, if any, of us will experience persecution to the degree our Savior did. Yet, even knowing what He would face (John 18:4), He chose to endure it for you. We don’t know what persecution we will face in the future, but are we willing to endure it for the sake of Christ? Will we press on knowing Jesus promised the world would hate us? We will either follow the example of Jesus and embrace what is coming, or wilt under the threats and crumble with fear. Moments of extreme suffering reveal if we truly love Jesus as much as we say we do.
I want to be faithful to Christ and respond to whatever comes my way just as He did. Jesus knew He would have trouble in this world and warned us we would as well (John 16:33). He knew all men would hate Him and informed us the world would hate us because of Him (John 15:18-24). Even though we can’t see the future, we know what is coming because Jesus told us in advance. It is up to us to decide if we find Jesus worth the pain or not. If we decide He is, then we must prepare our hearts for what is coming. We must immerse ourselves in His Word so we can be strong when the storms come our way (Luke 6:46-49).
Jesus knew what saving us would cost Him, and He did it anyway. That’s how much we mean to Him. No pain, struggle, or temptation of this world would sway Him from His mission. Nothing could keep Him from the cross. He would let nothing get in the way of Him laying down His life for us. The overwhelming love of Jesus is unfathomable, but I know if He loves me that much, I want nothing more than to return that love the best that I can. I know that means persecution is coming. I know the world will hate me. It’s okay; Jesus knew and would not back down. Jesus knew and died for me and you. When persecution comes our way, we must be ready to hold fast and give glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Considering what Jesus did for us, it is the least we can do.