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Violence and persecution against Christians and the Easter celebration.

Just after Jesus was taken captive through the betrayal of Judas this happened.

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? Matthew 26:51-54


Jesus responded this way because He was on a “mission from God”, as it says in John 3:16. This was the reason He came to earth; He was driven by His love for us. But He was the subject of violence and conspiracies that resulted in His death.


Just as Jesus was subject to these things, we are as well. We cannot dismiss this as just a few crazies on social media. Yes, we are scorned by the media at large as well as in higher education. Jane Fonda on a show called “The View”, March 10, 2023, called for pro-life people to be killed, and a professor in Michigan recently called for conservative speakers to be killed, around March 29, 2023. What do we do about this? How can we overcome this?


We are to live by grace through faith, that is how!


What does that mean? The same mission Jesus had He has passed on to us. We are to preach the gospel and the righteousness of Jesus to all people (Matt 28:16-20, Acts 1:8). We are to preach it with love, patience, and grace (1 Cor 4:11-12). This is what Paul did, despite his life being in danger (Acts 9:29, Acts 13:50, 2 Corinthians 11:24, among many others). He continued to preach the truth of the gospel to those who did not believe, many of whom wanted to kill him.


Jesus and Paul never called for retribution or revenge, and even spoke against it (Romans 12:17-19, Luke 9:53-56). Jesus said, in the Matt 26 verses above, that His mission was to be fulfilled even though all worldly authorities opposed it. We can only do the same by grace through faith, in obedience to God.


We must be very clear when thinking about this. We are not forbidden from defending ourselves and our families, and we are, as a society, to punish crime so that the innocent will not be harmed. But God has reserved ultimate judgment for Himself.


Paul's words remain as relevant today as they were when he faced persecution from the Roman government and religious authorities. As he said in 1 Corinthians, "11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now" 1 Corinthians 4:11-13.


We do this because we have the greatest hope of all, the hope of the one true, and risen Savior. We have the proof of this hope in the FACT that Jesus was raised from death, that He overcame death in triumph. Paul wrote of this in his letter to the Romans: “3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” Romans 1:3-4.


Jesus was born as a man, and was subject to death, just as we are. He was persecuted for no reason other than His holiness and presentation of the gospel. Those same authorities that sought to kill Him are still active now and they are coming after those who preach the gospel. Our hope is founded on Jesus, who is victorious over the world. So put your hope in Him, celebrate His resurrection, and live in peace and hope!


These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33


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