“For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” – John 16:2 (NLT)
A “holy” service… How is it that a person, mind you in this day and age, can rationalize murdering innocents and proclaiming they are providing a “holy” service to God? How can you come to terms with the slaying of someone who is doing nothing but PEACEFULLY praising and worshiping?
Another translation of the above verse captures quite well the mood of our times is from The Message bible. It states:
“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them. “– John 16:1-4 The Message
We are now witness to carnage upon carnage each and every day. What seems to be increasing more and more is the persistent and deliberate violence against those of the Christian faith. I see stories all the time about various attacks throughout the world but was drawn to headline of the Sunday 9/22/13 attack on a Historic Church in Pakistan. (Scores Are Killed by Suicide Bomb Attack at Historic Church in Pakistan)
People look at what is happening today, and has happened in the past (e.g. the crusades), and want NOTHING to do with religion. They state that if men/the world is already filled with hatred and violence why slap a religious sticker on abhorrent behavior and that we are even worse than everyone else because “we” supposedly are claiming superiority. It is said how can we condemn them when in the same breath we condemn, harass and murder other all in the name of God???
I wrote to a fellow blogger that “I know we all have different beliefs in following God and His son our Lord but to see so much pain being amplified more and more each day tears on the heart, especially when those being singled out are the most innocent.”
The majority of us living in America can’t completely conceptualize how it would feel to live in perpetual fear each and every day that today may be your last. Or that you may send your children off to see them next in the morgue to be ID’d. Don’t get me wrong America has its own homegrown violence such as in Chicago, NY etc. but even in those places do you see on a daily basis places such as a place of worship being deliberately targeted. Targeted in such a way as to catch the groups of worshippers completely off guard. And all in the name of “doing a holy service to God”.
“9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.” – Matthew 24:9 NLT
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.” – John 15:18-27
So the next time we are able to congregate in a church, or share our faith with another, may we remember JUST HOW GREATLY BLESSED we are to do so without fear of injury or death. Even more, may we be mindful to pray and do what we can in support for our fellow believers, regardless of denomination, that are being ruthlessly persecuted all for His Name.
Be Forever Blessed,