I have to admit that for most of my life I haven’t had to think much about being persecuted for my faith.
Oh sure, when I was in Bible Studies as a teen, I was asked to think about whether or not I would be strong enough to stand firm and bold in my faith if I was faced with death. We read verses like:
Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.Matthew 24:9
Jesus said that His followers would be persecuted before His glorious return but for most of my life in the United States – it was not something we had to think about much. Sure we read about it happening in other countries and we prayed for Christians around the world . . . but it wasn’t happening here.
It feels different today, doesn’t it?
Around the world, more people are being persecuted and dying for their faith . . . in our own country churches are closed, Christians are being sued, and their voices are being silenced. The social pressure to hide our faith is prevalent and powerful.
Not unlike the atmosphere that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas faced at the time of Christ.
Joseph was a leader and honored member of the Jewish high council of which Nicodemus was also a member. Had their faith been made known they would have faced the loss of their positions, their influence, and possibly their prosperity.
But Jesus’ death changed them . . . Joseph provided a new unused tomb and together he and Nicodemus cared for Jesus’ body and laid Him there.
Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body . . . With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night.John 19:38a,39
The Life Application Notes add:
When confronted with Jesus and His death, we [like Joseph and Nicodemus] should be changed—to believe, proclaim, and act.
A Prayer to Be Bold in Faith
Father, please give me the courage to be bold in my faith. It’s so easy to be frightened by the opinions of people and swayed by the power of those who seem to be in control. But Your Word tells me to be “strong and courageous.” It promises that You are with me and that you will never fail nor abandon Your children. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Thank you for making me Your child. Thank you for showing me the love of Jesus.
Please prompt my heart to SEEK Your will. Help me honor a commitment to read and study Your Word that I might know what You say not just what others say about what You say. Please give me everything I need to stand strong and be bold in faith. Give me the courage to speak Your truth with gentleness and respect when appropriate and the strength to boldly confront sin when You ask.
I pray that people will see Your love in me and that when they do, they will want the blessing of Your living loving presence as well. I love You, Lord. Bless me and use me for Your glory. Amen.
Friend, I’m not suggesting that we are all called to get involved in all the political battles that are taking place right now.
What I am inviting you to consider is that we have all been called to be bold and to stand strong in Jesus as we shine the light of His love.
[Jesus] told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”Mark 16:15
And Paul gave us an example…
I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.1 Corinthians 2:3–5
On today’s note write:
God give me the courage to be bold in my faith.
May God be with you today and give you everything you need to be bold and courageous in your faith.
Click here to read the rest of John 19.
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