“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” —John 9:20-23

Some years ago an evangelical missionary told the story of how they were helping the needy in an area of Ireland. They would bring the gospel to a very poor neighborhood where the people were in great need both spiritually and physically. On their visits to this neighborhood they would bring food and clothes to those who were desperately in need. The people were grateful.

A priest in that area heard that these missionaries were coming into this neighborhood that was in his area of oversight. When he found out the people were responding positively to these missionaries he told the people that lived there that if they kept receiving anything from them then they would be ex-communicated. They stopped receiving the missionaries…

Many religious groups will ostracize those of their number who truly trust the finished work of our Lord Jesus. This is nothing new. When Saul trusted Jesus the Jews now wanted to kill Him— their previous persecuting champion of the Way. Muslims who turn to Jesus are excluded and are in danger of death in the Muslim majority countries.

Families also become cold to those who love and live for Jesus. This is true all over the world. When a person follows Jesus their value system changes and this collides with the world’s family values. In the United States followers of Jesus may not be physically persecuted, though there are times, but they surely are ignored and excluded from families. This is also true in the workplace when people follow Jesus. Regardless of how followers of Jesus are treated, we are still to love people and seek to share Jesus with them. May we do so!

Dear Father, help me to be faithful to bring the gospel to those who desperately need to hear about Jesus and trust Jesus. May this be so today in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

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