When A Family Member Suffers
When Stephen, described by Luke as "a man full of God's grace and power," did great wonders and miracles in Jerusalem shortly after Christ's ascension to heaven, he was taken before the Sanhedrin. When the high priest asked him if the charges were true, Stephen proceeded to preach to the crowd. "When they heard this," says Luke, "they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him." Eventually, they "dragged him out of the city and began to stone him."
Today, more Christians than at any time in history (with the possible exception of the first century) are on the receiving end of persecution. Do you hurt with Christians who are in pain somewhere else in the world - people you have never met nor probably ever will meet? Is it your business when a Christian father somewhere else in the world knows that living out his faith will mean his son can never get a university education?
You can't fight every injustice in the world but when you realize that we are one body, that we have one Father, that we have one faith, then all of us who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ lose our ethnic identity, our gender, and our culture to become brothers and sisters, belonging to each other. We are family.
In His prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that His own - His children - might be one, even as He and the Father were one. Persecution helps forge that bond, a painful yet persuasive way of helping us to understand that what binds us together is more powerful than what separates us.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28