I was recently driving on a Sunday afternoon when I noticed a car stopped on the opposite side of the road with its hazard lights on. An older woman was in the driver’s seat, looking not overly concerned. As the vehicle was a newer BMW convertible and my quick glance at the driver told me she was well dressed, I assumed she was Realtor and had simply pulled over to check her directions. I allowed that rationalization to satisfy the pull I was feeling to turn around and see if she needed assistance. As I have done an embarrassingly number of times in my life, I reasoned that since I know next to nothing about the workings of automobiles, I would be of little help anyway.
I recently heard Andy Stanley talk about how if we would only get one command from Jesus right, we would absolutely revolutionize our world. That one command is found in John 15:12-17, where Jesus told His disciples to love one another just as He had loved them. This was an urgent command from Jesus, as He was literally running out of time and His betrayal was imminent. If you knew you were about to die, you wouldn’t waste time with small talk. You would tell those closest to you the most important and urgent thing you could think of. This was one of the final commands of Jesus, and thus it carries extraordinary weight.
All around the world, there are people who have been imprisoned for no other reason than the fact they placed their faith in Jesus Christ. While it can be hard to fathom for us in the West, it remains a certain and dangerous reality for millions of our brothers and sisters. Their faith and courage are inspiring to me, and I wonder if I would have the same resolve if faced with similar circumstances.
I am very thankful that I live in a country that, to this point in my life, has allowed me to follow Christ without risk of imprisonment or torture. Still, we must remember those who daily endure hardships and persecution we can scarcely imagine.