Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour . Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings .
1 Peter 5:8-9
Throughout the world… 450 Christians killed for their faith each day. 200 million Christians persecuted.
Nov. 17: “It was confirmed today that an underground church leader, his family members and dozens of his followers are likely to be executed.”
Pastor Noble Alexander, before 22 years in Cuban prisons
For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! … Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up and help us ; redeem us because of your unfailing love.
We are objects of reproach…of scorn and derision to those around us. How long, O LORD? … Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you…we are in desperate need.… make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants . May the groans of the prisoners come before you.
They crush your people, O LORD… They slay the widow and the alien ; they murder the fatherless…. They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death . But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness .
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins . The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer . In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword.
Blessed are you who mourn , for you will be comforted…. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad , because great is your reward in heaven , for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
“ And now you have betrayed and murdered him” [Jesus]….When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him . … “Look,” Stephen said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices , they all rushed at him , dragged him out of the city and began to stone him….
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. … I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you…. No servant is greater than his master . If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also . …They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?....No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. …neither death nor life, angels nor demons…nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord .
If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called , because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps . …When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly .
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering , as though something strange were happening to you . But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed …if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name . 1 Peter 4:12-17
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel . As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ . Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly .
They called the apostles in and had them flogged . Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus , and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name . Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure , far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God , who raises the dead.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed , but not in despair; persecuted , but not abandoned; struck down , but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body . For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake , so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
[The martyrs] called out in a loud voice, “ How long, Sovereign Lord , holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer , until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
The Lord said, “ I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering .…So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians.”
Between them they rolled the huge Lion over on his back and tied all his four paws together , shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no noise , even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh .
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him : “Hail, king of the Jews!” They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again . After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him .