John Day 29: Jesus Speaks of Persecution

Barb Wire Cross by Mik Miller

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 29 Reading:
John 15:18-27

Bringing the Word to Life
Say a special prayer for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. For more information go to www.persecution.com

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. – John 15:19 (NLT)

Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind.- Gwendolyn Brooks

Observation
Jesus speaks plainly about those who hate him and persecute him. He tells the disciples they will experience the same troubles because they follow him.

Application
It would be mockery for me to label the small inconveniences I have experienced because of my faith persecution. I think of the saints who have gone before me who were imprisoned or killed for their faith. I think of the great sacrifices made by Christian missionaries, medical practitioners, Bible translators, relief workers, reformers and teachers. I think of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing persecution this very day because of where they were born.

Revelation 6:9-11 (NRSV)
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.

Jesus did  not numb himself or withhold himself from human pain, as we see even in his  refusal of the numbing wine on the cross (Matthew 27:34). Some forms of  suffering are necessary so that we can more fully know the human  dilemma, so that we can even name our shadow self and confront it. Maybe evil  itself has to be felt to understand its monstrosity, and to empathize  with its victims. Brothers and sisters, the irony is not that God should feel so fiercely;  it’s that his creatures feel so feebly. If there is nothing in your life to cry  about, if there is nothing in your life to yell about, you must be out of  touch. We must all feel and know the immense pain of this global humanity. Then  we are no longer isolated, but a true member of the universal Body of Christ.
– Richard Rohr

Science may have found a cure for most evils: but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings. –  Helen Keller

Prayer
How long, Sovereign Lord, how long? So many of your children suffer as you suffered- beaten, imprisoned, enslaved, separated from friends and family, cut down at the prime of life. They sacrifice far beyond what we can imagine, all for the love of you. We trust your promise, that the suffering will end. Until that day, bless and protect them, Mighty One. Encourage them and provide for them. Fill them with your strength and power. Remind them that they are not forgotten by us and not forgotten by you. Through their witness awaken us from apathy, complaining and complacency. Awaken us to true discipleship. Renew a right spirit within us and forgive our foolishness. In the name of your suffering servant, Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen.

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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

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