“If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.’” – John 15:20
As Jesus was preparing to head to the cross, he gave his disciples some encouragement. He was preparing them for what was coming. (John 13-17). At one point, he said, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). As if that wasn’t encouragement enough, later he said, “The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (John 16:2). And he said, “The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered” (John 16:31). Feel encouraged?
Sometimes living in America we struggle to realize the reality of these statements. On occasion, we read stories of Christians in such circumstances, but it is often only passing reminders. Rest assured, Christians all over the world know Jesus was speaking truth because they experience it daily.
But there is encouragement. In John 14:18 Jesus reminds us that we are not orphans. We are part of the family of God and we will never be left alone. Jesus is with us. And we must remember that we have the great Comforter—the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-31).
And we must remember that Jesus has already won this fight. Before praying, he concluded his final instructions to his disciples saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
In this life, you will be persecuted (if you're following Jesus), but take heart, Jesus has already overcome!