We previously looked at striving together in prayer for the sake of the gospel; zeal for the sake of God’s covenant; regathering and salvation of Israel for the sake of YHVH’s holy name.
Mt 5:11-12 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven; for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. WITHIN ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH
Mt 10:21-22 Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. WITHIN FAMILY; CIVIL WAR
Jn 15:18-21 If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake because they do not know Him who sent Me. WORLD-AT-LARGE AND ALSO AMONGST PEOPLE OF GOD
I tell people who ask me what it’s like to live as a believer in Israel that Israel is a great place to follow the Lord Jesus Christ because it’s difficult to be lukewarm about our faith here. We have many experiences and opportunities to know and live in the reality of the truth of what we have read in the above passages! Believers who live in “Christian” countries do not normally consider these verses relevant, and certainly do not understand the truth of them. We can be “blessed, happy, satisfied” if we are motivated by the love and purposes of God to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus in our life.
And as Jesus speaks to His disciples that this hatred and persecution will be on account of His Name, this is also to place Him in a position equal to God, since it is for YHVH God that we are to live and die and give glory. Moses and the other prophets never said to Israel that they would suffer on account of their names.
We need to understand that, based on the Law, false prophets were to be killed (Dt 13:5,9-10; 18:20). The Lord Himself tells us (Jn 16:1-4) that there will be those who think that by killing us, they are doing God a work of faith, since Jesus is considered by the authorities of the Jewish religion a false prophet: one who leads the people away from the God of their own understanding. Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was like that.
It requires a revelation from God the Father that Jesus is Himself YHVH to understand the extent of our sin against Him and those who believe in Him. Only in this way can we with a good conscience be willing to suffer for the sake of the Name of Jesus and not feel that we are offending the one true God of Israel. The prophets who suffered for the sake of their testimony of YHVH did so by their own people, that is, by Israelis and Jews. So we, who are witnesses of the risen and exalted Messiah, are not to be surprised by such hatred toward us without a cause. And we certainly do not want to give them any other cause! Let their accusations against us be false, like against Daniel in Babylon, and against Jesus and Stephen and Paul. They do these things because they do not know God the Father nor the Lord Jesus, even while they profess to be serving God.
We speak at Passover about the importance and necessity of bitter herbs in our life. Bearing our cross daily for the sake of Jesus is such a bitter herb in our life; listening and seeing our people or our families be against us simply because we know and believe the truth about Messiah is a bitter herb; to be killed without justice is a bitter herb. But the promise of Jesus – who has authority to make and to keep such promises – the promise of reward in the Kingdom of Heaven, this gives incentive and power and hope and love to endure to the end.
All of us, let us keep our eyes upon Jesus and the glory that is His already – and ready to be revealed.