Some people teach that if you follow Jesus and get sick or suffer poverty your faith is too small. Of course, this half-truth has some Biblical support. The whole story, however, has hard elements to swallow.

“Do you think I came to bring peace to earth? No! I can guarantee that I came to bring nothing but division. From now on a family of five will be divided. Three will be divided against two and two against three. A father will be against his son and a son against his father. A mother will be against her daughter and a daughter against her mother. A mother-in-law will be against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53 God’s Word).

persecution lion“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but conflict. I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own family. The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me doesn’t deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. The person who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. The person who welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward” (Matthew 10:34-42 God’s Word).


The peace Jesus offers has to do with patiently plodding through piles of poo that mockers and gossips and backbiters and demons heap on us and in front of us and all around us.

Jesus warns that “Brother will hand over brother to death; a father will hand over his child. Children will rebel against their parents and kill them” (Matthew 10:21 God’s Word)?

Even more important, why do some who claim Jesus have no problems and others do? The answer cuts like a sword across the swath of religious loyalists.

persecution stones“Everyone will hate you because you are committed to me. But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved. So when they persecute you in one city, flee to another. I can guarantee this truth: Before you have gone through every city in Israel, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 10:22-23 God’s Word).

Those “committed” to the Good News live as outright enemies of evil, thorns in the flesh of the ritualists, exposers of hypocrisy and challengers to defenders of religious traditions.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, lie, and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven! The prophets who lived before you were persecuted in these ways” (Matthew 5:10-12 God’s Word).

Jesus does not teach that when life runs smoothly you have proof of your place with Christ. Remember, the crowds did not crucify the priests who defended religion against the living truth of God, Jesus!

“A student is not better than his teacher. Nor is a slave better than his owner. It is enough for a student to become like his teacher and a slave like his owner. If they have called the owner of the house Beelzebul, they will certainly call the family members the same name” (Matthew 10:24-25 God’s Word).

“But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved”.

The proof of the sincerity of our faith rests not with wealth, health or flattery.

Christian PersecutionAs Paul declared while in Miletus, “the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. But I don’t place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I’m running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Jesus—the mission of testifying to the Good News of God’s kindness” (Acts 20:23-24 God’s Word).

It’s not those who line up at the start of the race with great fanfare who find their reward, but those who endure the marathon to its very end, through all stress and trouble, and find Jesus standing there as the timekeeper, Who will declare openly, “Because you have obeyed my command to endure, I will keep you safe during the time of testing which is coming to the whole world to test those living on earth. I am coming soon! Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown” (Revelation 3:10-11 God’s Word).

Hold on. Hold out. Hold tight.

Jesus promises, “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time” (Matthew 28:20 God’s Word).