“Everyone will hate you because of me”.
Mk 13:13 GNB
Many years ago, the great German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a very influential book entitled, “The Cost of Discipleship”. There he said, “When Jesus calls a person, he bids him come and die”. This book achieved a huge impact after World War II because Bonhoeffer was killed by the Nazi regime during the war at the age of 39.
Being a disciple is never a bed of roses. In some situations it is dangerous. Most of the disciples of Jesus, sent out to proclaim his gospel, found themselves in mortal danger. There was bitter opposition from those of the Jewish faith. And preaching about the “Kingdom of God” aroused fear and opposition from the secular authorities in most places to which they went. Other faiths perceived them to be rivals for the affections (and money!) of their followers. It meant the disciples had a hard time of it wherever they went. And from time to time the Roman Emperors ordered persecutions against them. The opposition was official. And it was severe. “Conrad tells that, when he was a young sailor learning to steer a sailing-ship, a gale blew up. The older man who was teaching him gave him but one piece of advice. ‘Keep her facing it’, he said. ‘Always keep her facing it’”. (W. Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles p64).
In some countries where Christianity is a minority faith, much pressure is often brought to bear on believing Christian disciples on account of their loyalty to their faith. Sometimes non-Christian families “expel” a family member who converts to Christianity and this can be very painful for the member concerned. Remember always what Christ endured – and he never promised an easy ride.
Lord, strengthen all your disciples who face opposition.