“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you . . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you . . . But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:18-21, NKJV)

Have you ever been disliked because of a friend you associate with? Not nice, is it? They don’t like your friend, so they decide they don’t like you either. But that’s what happens with many believers. If some do not like our Lord (they would say “religion”), they choose to dislike us as well.

Have you ever been openly ridiculed for your faith? Down through the years many have. But many of us have endured nothing worse than perhaps a sarcastic remark that we quickly brushed off. Our faith has never been severely tested. If it were, would we have the strength to resist?

Jesus warned His listeners in Matthew 5:10-12 that persecution would come, and it did. The early church faced oppression from the time of its birth on the Day of Pentecost. How did the apostles and fellow believers respond to this intense opposition? They did not falter. They did not cower behind closed doors (as they had after the crucifixion). Instead, they boldly proclaimed the message of Jesus. In fact, the high priest and those gathered with him marveled.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, NKJV)

This confrontation did not end the persecution, but it did show how the Holy Spirit strengthened them to withstand whatever came against them. From the Book of Acts and other sources, it seems that of the remaining eleven apostles, only John escaped martyrdom. He, of course, was exiled to Patmos. They never submitted but stood strong.


How should the child of God respond to suffering for the name of Jesus? Perhaps the clearest answer would be, “The same way the Lord responded.”

  • “Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (I Peter 2:23, NKJV)

The Old Testament prophesied both His cruel treatment and His unexpected response: silence, not rebuttal.

  • “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, NKJV)

In Matthew 5 the Lord added further instructions about our response to those who mock or disparage our stand for His wonderful name.

  • “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake . . . But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Verses 11 and 44, NKJV)

The Lord desires us to face our persecutors not with hateful, angry words but with love, blessings, and forgiveness. Only then can they realize the power that comes through the name of Jesus.

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (I Peter 4:14, NKJV)


Many of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do not have it as easy most of us reading this devotional. According to the organization Open Doors, 365 million Christians suffer because of their belief in Jesus. Of those, 317 million endure very high or extreme persecution. They need our prayers.


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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