A church leader in Vietnam is taken to the police station to be beaten and interrogated.
A young girl in Pakistan, falsely accused of ripping pages from the Koran, is arrested as a mob shouts “Kill her!”
A widow in Colombia grieves the murder of her husband, assassinated by rebel guerrillas because of his ministry.
Christians face persecution for their faith in Jesus every day. But why?
Communist governments want control. But they cannot control or stop the rapid growth of Christianity in countries like Vietnam and China (which doesn’t stop them trying).
Government restrictions make Christian life and ministry very difficult. Pastors are arrested, interrogated and imprisoned – by targeting the “shepherds” of the flock, they hope the sheep will scatter.
According to more radical streams of Islam, apostasy (rejecting your religion) is a crime that demands the death penalty. When a Muslim converts from Islam to Christianity, they bring shame on their family. They are abandoning their heritage, their very identity.
Muslim background believers face harsh opposition not only from the government, but also from their family and friends.
In some countries, there are civil wars or other conflicts that result in Christians facing opposition for their faith. The government attempts to provide protection for Christians, but there is hostility to the Gospel from a particular section of society.
The Real Reason for Persecution
Persecution should not surprise us. Jesus tells us that persecution from the world is part of what it means to follow Him.
Jesus says: “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first … if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” John 5:18,20.
Paul writes to Timothy that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2 Timothy 3:12.
Just as Jesus went to the cross, He calls His disciples to “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me … whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it” Mark 8:34-35.