But they all refused to come! …the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. —Matthew 22:3, 5-6

“Thousands of Christians have been killed or abducted by Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group who claim to have established a ‘caliphate’ (Islamic state) in northern Nigeria. On a smaller but no less devastating scale, Christians are also the target of Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen, who have destroyed hundreds of churches and killed thousands of Christians. Twelve of the northern states have adopted Islamic law, and Christians are frequently discriminated against in this region, with Christian villages often lacking clean water and health clinics, and Christians being denied access to secondary school and higher education.”

Unfortunately, this is not a surprise. Jesus said that His followers would “be hated all over the world” and that they would “be arrested, persecuted and killed” (Matthew 24:9). The only reason that this would happen He said was “because you are My followers.” Think about it. How many groups of people are killed just for what they believe? Christians, not surprisingly, are the most persecuted people on the planet. “Beheadings, torture, rape, kidnappings, mass killings, forced starvation, imprisonment and even crucifixions attest that the persecution of Christians did not end at the foot of the cross or the closed gates of the Roman Coliseum. Last year alone, sources indicate that an estimated 165, 000 Christians died because of religious or ethnic clashes.”

This message would be enough in many areas of the world to bring about the above mentioned persecutions. Why is that? Why is it that people who may disagree with the message about Jesus want to harm those who speak it? It is because the message involves spiritual warfare. The message of the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit which plunges into a person’s mind to bring conviction of guilt before God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). This is the problem. People want to think they are OK before God and that they are good enough. But God’s Word shows the reality of our guilty, sinful lives before an awesomely holy God. Most people do not want to hear this and many, in nations where they can get away with it, even kill those bringing the message or who are just known to be followers of Jesus. Even the U.S. is starting to ramp up persecution of Christians. Dear Father, help us to be faithful to our Lord Jesus. We know the outcome!

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