In the 1st century Roman Empire, claiming to know, love, and follow Jesus could very well result in persecution. Christians lost their families and friends. Some had their property confiscated and were blackballed in the community. Others lost their lives. In spite of that, many Christians continued to confess the name of Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Luke records some of the opposition Peter, John, others endured for their faith in Jesus. In the book of Acts, after Peter and John are ordered to stop speaking about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, they respond, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge, for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). Not long after that they are beaten and released and again are ordered not to speak about Jesus anymore. Luke records, “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:41-42).
In 21st century America, claiming to know, love, and follow Jesus can also result in hardships. Just about every sinful lifestyle is promoted and exalted in society, but woe to Christians who profess Jesus as the way, truth and life. Saying the name of Jesus out in public is sometimes equivalent to someone using four-letter words in a church worship.
What shall we do? I say we continue to profess our faith in Jesus. We cannot excuse the way Christians sometimes live. We cannot defend some doctrines that have been overemphasized, resulting in the neglect of sharing the Gospel. What we can do is talk about Jesus in a loving, inviting way: who He is, what He did for all mankind, and especially the difference He has made in our own lives. Make it about Jesus and let the chips fall where they may.
Read and follow the words of Paul in I Corinthians 2:1-5. Then listen to I’m not Afraid by Donna Ulisse.