It seems that Christians today in India are facing a new wave of persecution. Every other day we hear news regarding churches destroyed, prayer halls vandalized, and our gatherings disrupted. Moreover, violent physical abuse and burning of Bibles and other Christian literature have been reported from various places. The freedom that Christians enjoyed for a long time in this land is now slowly disappearing.
While it is true that the Indian constitution guarantees freedom of expression, religion, and so on, but practically, Christians do not have the same freedom which the majority community enjoys. Especially, after the present government has come to power, many among the majority community feel that Christians cannot have similar rights! So, they are emboldened to harass Christians in different ways. In certain places, it is very difficult for Christians to hold a public meeting.
The irony is often that the Indian authorities boast over the privileges the majority community enjoys in some other foreign land where they are minority, but they are least bothered about their treatment to the minorities in India!
It’s not only about one country; all over the world, Christians are being persecuted. According to a recent report, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today. Express UK published a study explaining the terrible state of Christians in 50 odd countries
Christians are persecuted by individuals, rival community mobs, and even the government agencies. Recently in China, a mega church was demolished with dynamite. In some Muslim dominated countries, Christians are regularly attacked and their properties are destroyed. Some of them do not even allow a Christian to keep his sacred book or profess his faith publically.
The condition of Christians in the so-called “Christian-dominated countries” is also not much different! Many believers are being discriminated and even punished for their commitment to the word of God and their conscience. In the name of political correctness, the leadership keeps silent about the rights of Christians, yet doing everything for the people of other faith!
Remember that not all who profess Christianity follow the teachings of the New Testament! For this very reason, these professing Christians will not face the hostilities unleashed by the aggressors. It is those who faithfully follow the words of Christ, who are hated and oppressed everywhere.
Why is it that even after 2000 years of its existence, the Church of Jesus Christ is still facing so much hostility? What is wrong with the lifestyle of Christians that they are so much hated and mistreated? Is it the mistake of the Christians or the teachings of Christ?
It’s good to reflect on what the New Testament says about this issue and what should be our response to any type of mistreatment. Such an understanding will help the people of God to take this realistically and respond as worthy of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
In this regard, let's consider five things. More
Story of Polycarp the godly man who served Christ in Smyrna in the middle of the 2nd century has challenged many. During the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurlius around AD 161, a mob urged the authorities to arrest this Bishop of Smyrna.
Many Christians were already caught and executed by various ways. In those days, the authorities always tried to avoid an execution by forcing Christian to forsake Christ. Few, seeing the cruel beasts in the amphitheater chose to renounce their faith.
When Polycarp who was around 100 years of age then, was arrested and brought before the officials. They began to plead with him to forsake Christ and acknowledge Caesar as his LORD. The repeatedly implored him to curse Christ and swear in the name of Caesar that they may release him respecting his age.
What the Bishop said is very incredible. “Eighty-six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong; how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”
Without considering anything more the Roman soldiers burned him alive.
A Death towards Life
Significance of the Crucifixion and Resurrection
of Jesus Christ
No death is ever good news. But the death of Jesus Christ has become the gospel for the whole world. Many around the world celebrate the day of His death as ‘Good Friday’! But the sad thing seldom they consider Christ’s death as explained in the New Testament. Andy thus they fail to appreciate and appropriate the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A study of some of the wonderful facts associated with the agony and death of Christ will help us to understand the various aspects of His death and even experience the benefit of it.
1. It was a pre-planned death.
Many consider Christ’s death as an accidental unfortunate end. Actually His sufferings and death was in accordance with the eternal plan of God. Revelation 13:8. He knew it and reminded His followers that the entire Old Testament spoke of it in advance. Luke 24: 44, 46. This is one of the major themes of the Bible and fundamental part of the gospel truth. He did not die as a victim. More
“The Church of Christ has been founded by shedding its own blood, not that of others; by enduring outrage, not by inflicting it. Persecution have made it grow; martyrdom have crowned it.”
_____________________ Jerome, letter.
“Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer.”