v 35. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
Down through the ages – right to the present moment- people have suffered on account of their faith. On 23rd July 1555 John Launder was burned at the stake on Chantry Green in Steyning. He had been caught, along with others, reading the bible in English! In the space of just a few years 36 people in Sussex were martyred because they refused to renounce their Protestant beliefs. They, along with so many others in the world, have been determined to follow Jesus even to the point of death. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
Persecution these days however can take many different forms. Being given the cold shoulder in an office or at school can be very hurtful. In parts of the world a person might be unemployable because of Christian faith, or may not be allowed to continue with a good education.
In parts of the Muslim world murder is not unknown when a child has turned from traditional Islam to follow Jesus, or wants to marry a Christian. Being laughed at is bad enough but don’t be surprised if you suffer some kind of hardship at the hands of others when you openly stand up as a Christian believer. That hardship may come in the form of bullying, verbal or physical, or social ridicule, or spiteful rota planning that means you find yourself required to do the most menial or dirty job in your place of employment.
When any of this happens learn to offer a gracious response; Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek, or go a second mile, doing over and above what we have been called on to do.
And pray for those who treat you that way.