Do not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God.  I am not here on my own, but he sent me.  Why can’t you understand what I am saying?  It’s because you can’t even hear me!  For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does.  He was a murderer from the beginning.  He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?  And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God.  But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”  (John 8:42-47)

“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.  Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.  Turn away and keep moving.  For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.  They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.  They eat the food of wickedness and drink the wine of violence!” (Proverbs 4:14-17)

But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” (Psalm 44:22)

“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own.  Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.  He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 52:6-7)

“Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor.  ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ the governor asked him.  Jesus replied, ‘You have said it.’  But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.  ‘Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?’ Pilate demanded.  But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.” (Matthew 27:11-12)

“Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’  They will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic.  Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.  Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines.  But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.  When these things begin to happen, watch out!  You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues.  You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers.  But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.  For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.  But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say.  Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”  (Mark 13:5-11)

Christians around the world are facing a sharp increase in persecution, especially in the Middle East.  Radical Islamists are currently leading the charge in terrorizing anyone who does not submit to their worldview of Islamic Sharia Law and they are proclaiming that Christians and Jews are their main enemies.

No one escapes their terror as they savagely and openly subjugate, rape, mutilate, and behead thousands of people.  They are so bloodthirsty that even Muslims do not escape their path of terror.  They dress as reapers of death, clothed in all black and faces covered, so that the only thing one sees when they see these men roll into an area in their convoy of trucks is sheer evil.  They do not bring joy or peace.  Only terror.  They do not build, but destroy.  They do not give, only take away.  They cannot even rest at the end of their day until they’ve destroyed something or someone.  They are spiritually fat off their food of wickedness and drunk off of violence; they love it and crave it.

Christians are fleeing their homes and communities with literally only the shirts on their backs.  Some are facing a choice of converting to Islam, paying a tax of submission to Islam or death, but most are simply facing death.

While the persecution and martyrdom of Christians has been happening for almost 2,000 years, Jesus told us that it would only get worse as time goes on and He set the example for us should we find ourselves experiencing persecution and/or facing death for our faith.

Jesus only ever spoke what the Father in Heaven told Him to say. (John 8:28) Scripture teaches us that Jesus was silent before His persecutors. The importance of His silence before His persecutors cannot be lost on us.  Jesus was under no obligation to say a word and neither are we.

News stories have been making their way from the Middle East over the past few months that Christians are being forced to make statements that they worship Allah and that Islam reigns supreme.  Once they finish reciting these words back to their persecutors, they are proclaimed to be ‘infidels’ anyway and publicly beheaded.  Why say anything at all?  Jesus didn’t.  We don’t have to.

Jesus also said not to worry about what we will say when the time comes.  The Holy Spirit will either prompt us to be silent or He will give us the words at the appropriate time.

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted today, that they are made able to remain faithful to the Lord and that the words they speak (if any) glorify Jesus Christ, our Lord Almighty.  And may God rise up and defend and protect the helpless.  He is the only One who is able.  He is our only hope and our hope is indeed in Him!

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