Acts 9: 23-25
Paul was one of the well known Jewish leaders. He was younger, but he had made an impact. They knew who he was and all of a sudden he had converted. He went from being the future poster boy for the religious sect to now representing the movement he once tried so hard to stomp out. He stood among them all and spoke of a risen Jesus. Some loved it. Some doubted it. Some hated it.
Within a few days from his public profession, there were already men trying to kill him. They had put in place a plan to have him murdered at the city gates when he was coming or going. Paul heard about this and found a way to sneak over the wall one night by being lowered down in a basket.
If there is anything we can take away from this that applies to our own life I think it is that the moment our faith becomes a vocal part of our life it will cause problems. When we decide that we’re going to follow Jesus and live in a way he has called us to live, we will inevitably face backlash.
Jesus warned of this, though. He asked his followers at one point, if they’ve persecuted me and plan to murder me, why do you think they’ll do anything different to you? Jesus knew that when we began acting more like him that we would be treated more and more like him. When we began being honest, and acting with integrity, and speaking of grace, and sharing the cross that we would be noticed and sometimes not in a good way.
Paul was almost killed for his faith. Stephen had just recently been stoned to death for his. Ultimately, all of the men who followed this working class Jewish carpenter would find a life of rejection, persecution, and eventually martyrdom.
As we follow Jesus there will be those who come against us. As we follow Jesus there will be those who want to stop it. As we look more like him there is an enemy that wants that image destroyed.
It’s a simple fact, the more we look like Jesus the more persecution we will incur. That being said, has your faith faced opposition? Have your values been challenged or tempted? We’re not suggesting that you go and create problems, the Bible says to live as peacefully as we can with everyone and to submit to authorities. We shouldn’t be looking to create problems. But we also shouldn’t modify our faith to fit pleasantly inside our culture. We should be challenging ideas peacefully. We should be asking important questions. We should be showing a world full of people in darkness that there is a light. Sometimes, that does get attention.