But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
Being a soldier of Jesus Christ is a profession that carries risks. Bearing in mind that this world is still under the power of the evil one, it is obvious that worldly values conflict with the values of God. We are at war and the enemy will not stand idly by while we carry out our great commission. In Matthew 10:17-18, the Lord warned His disciples that they should take care of men because persecutions would follow. In these persecutions, there is the possibility of being imprisoned, mistreated or dead.
The fulfillment of the Lord’s prophetic word in Matthew 10:17-18 began from the earliest years of the church. The book of the Acts of the Apostles outlines the persecutions of the early Christians. Peter and John were imprisoned and beaten for preaching in the name of Jesus Christ. Stephen was the first Christian martyr to die stoned at the look of approval of a young Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus. After the death of Stephen, the persecution did not cease and the church was dispersed from Jerusalem to other places.
Saul of Tarsus himself, who witnessed Stephen’s death, wanted to become the most zealous persecutor of the Christians and set out for Damascus to capture those who believed in Jesus and bring them prisoners to Jerusalem. But on his way to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with the Lord who transformed his life. The rabid Pharisee Saul of Tarsus, persecutor and accomplice of the death of Christians, was transformed into Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, who traveled by numerous places expanding in gospel.
But the fruitful ministry of Paul was accompanied by many persecutions. The Lord himself warned him in Acts 9:15-16: But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” And certainly Paul suffered all kinds of abuse because of the name of Jesus Christ. And as a persecutor of Christians, Paul became one of the most persecuted among the servants of Christ.
The persecution of the Christians barely began with Peter, John, Stephen and Paul. For centuries, millions of believers in Jesus Christ have been persecuted and martyred. Even in our day persecution continues. Of course, in some places such persecution is quite obvious, as in Muslim-majority countries, India, China, among others. But also where the Roman church is majority or has a great influence, those who follow biblical Christianity are objects of censorship or open persecution.
However, the fiercest persecution of Christians in history is yet to come. In fact, the enemy is already preparing his agents for the final thrust. The approval of laws contrary to what the Bible commands and the consequent disavowal to preach their truths are the first signs of what is coming. And before this panorama will know who follows Christ for who He is and who will run and deny their faith with the intention of not being persecuted. Let us not forget that we can lose eternal life because we want to save the earthly. God bless you.