(Voice of the Persecuted) The greatest injustice ever done in human history was done to the Son of God.
Luke 23:34……Father forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing…….
The New Testament shows Him to be the innocent Lamb of God. The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
Jesus, without sin, was put to death by sinners. He was put the death by wicked, evil men. Yet the scriptures tell us He did not revile nor curse His enemies. According to 1 Peter 2:21-25 we read,
…….For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth, and while being reviled, he did not revile in return, while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him the judges righteously and he himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live in righteousness, for by his wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls…….
The Apostle Peter tells us that Jesus left us an example. The example that in our sufferings, in our persecutions, we are not to revile nor threaten our enemies. Indeed our attitude is to be His attitude and that is Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
This has always been the history of the persecuted church. This is called suffering love. This term was coined by Anabaptist brethren who suffered much persecution during the time of the Reformation. They saw an example of Christ’s forgiveness and love for their enemies, even when He went to the cross. The Anabaptists saw this as the suffering love of Jesus.
This example of suffering love has been born by the persecuted Church through 2000 years. Our brothers and sisters in times past and present, never reviled nor cursed their enemies. They never uttered threats against their persecutors. In the account of the martyrs, the plea of those being persecuted, was always for their persecutors to come to faith and repentance in Jesus Christ.
Yet, tragically in this day, there are those in the name of Christ who were calling for a crusade against Muslims. There are those who are calling for their own brand of jihad against those in Islam. Does this sound familiar? A French philosopher once remarked that those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.
Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus ever teach that we are to kill our enemies. One cannot profess to have the 9 fruit of the Spirit and want to lock and load for Jesus. For a Christian to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but a heart of anger is contradictory. Jesus never taught that we were to pray imprecatory prayers as regards our enemies. That is call down God’s hell fire judgment on our enemies.
Jesus came so that we might have life. And that we might have it abundantly. Jesus is about life. This is illustrated in Luke 9:51-56 where Jesus rebukes James and John. They are wanting to bid fire to come down from heaven and consume a Samaritan village that would not welcome them. But Jesus rebuked them by saying they do not know what spirit they were of. He goes on to tell them that the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Interesting to note that John would later be known as the Apostle of love. And James would later be martyred for the faith
It has been said the most powerful words that Jesus uttered were, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” These words of forgiveness, by Jesus, for his enemies, were words that broke the power of hell.
We are reminded of the 21 Coptic brothers who were martyred 2 weeks ago. Indeed Isis has displayed it all over the social media. One reaction is anger. Anger that cries out retribution and justice. There are those in the Christian camp who cry out for the killing of Muslims. They want to see another crusade against those who martyr Christians. Those who do such claim, they do this in the name of Christ. But did Jesus ever command that one do a crusade against His enemies? Didn’t the organized church learn this tragic lesson hundreds of years ago in their so called crusades. It is because of this blood stained history of the institutional church that Muslims are reluctant to come to Christ. Praise God for Muslims are coming to Jesus through dreams, visions and those caring and loving enough to share the Gospel with them. May God send more to share His word and release more visions of Jesus and in these end times.
But another response is being overlooked. A response far more powerful than anger and hate. And that response is forgiveness. The Egyptian Coptic Church has said that they will forgive those that martyred these 21 precious saints.
A mother had two sons martyred by Isis was asked if she saw the attacker of her sons walking down the street what would she do. The mother quietly and calmly said, “I would go up to him, extend my hand, and say I forgive you.”
In an interview with Iraqi Christian children forced to flee their village, one little girl remarked that she would forgive those in Isis. She would forgive those that caused such turmoil in her little heart.
We as followers of the Lamb are called to forgive our enemies, even when they do harm to us or our families—we are to forgive. If Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, are we not to do the same?
We see this also in Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. In Mark 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” And again in Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
If we do not forgive our enemies, then we are disobeying Christ.
To go out and kill in the name of Jesus is an abomination. Again I say, to go out and kill in the name of Jesus is an abomination and will certainly invite the wrath of God on those who do such. Indeed those who hold to such a position are not born again.
We as believers in Christ are called to a radical love toward our enemies. This love can only come from the Holy Spirit working in us. This love can only come from His fruit flowing through our lives. The radical love of Jesus Christ for one’s enemies is far greater than the hatred of Satan.
Let us pray that God transforms our hearts with the radical love of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that God grants us the same suffering love toward our persecutors that Christ had. Or that of Stephen while they were stoning him, he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. And of that of the Anabaptist along with many others who forgave those who persecuted them. Let us pray as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
VOP Prayer Director