By David Robertson, Christian Today.
My brother Nadeem was beaten and abused in Pakistan because he dared to ask for his wages. My brother Fam Mary Kalaad from Egypt was stabbed repeatedly in the chest in July this year. He died.
Some might think that I belong to a particularly large and unfortunate family. I admit it is large – a multitude which no-one can count – but I deny that we are unfortunate. Because despite the attacks and abuse upon us, my family is greatly blessed. We are of course the Christian family, our brother is the Lord Jesus, our Father the Lord God, and our helper and counsellor the Holy Spirit.
All over the world we are being persecuted, privately, publicly and by governments. In Malaysia a law has just been passed which means that Christian converts from Islam can be detained in a ‘purification centre’ for up to three months. In Nepal, eight Christians were put on trial in July because they gave out a pamphlet about Jesus in a Christian school. In Nigeria the new leader of Boko Haram announced that they will now specifically target Christians only. In China and in Cuba churches are being closed and pastors arrested. The new film Insanity of God gives a moving account of the persecution of Christians throughout the world.
The prophetic message that was brought to the Church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) praised the Christians there for their faithfulness in the face of such persecution. Smyrna (modern Izmir) was a large, beautiful, planned city, famous for its medical and science schools. The message that Jesus gave them is the shortest and the warmest of his messages to the churches and yet it is also a warning.