Last year was the worst year on record for persecution of Christians worldwide.
According to ‘Open Doors,’ each month 332 were killed for their faith, 772 suffered serious violence and 214 churches were destroyed.
Once there was a network of Christian churches spreading east from Jerusalem through “Mesopotamia” and on into India.
Though not recorded in the NT, this missionary spread eastwards from Jerusalem must have started very early. When Marco Polo reached the court of Kublai Khan in 1266 in nowadays “Peking,” he was surprised to meet Christians there.
We sometimes forget that Christianity is a Middle Eastern (i.e. Asian) religion, that Jesus was a Jew, and Paul a Syrian or maybe a Turk. Armenia was the first ever officially Christian nation.
The buildings of the Eastern Christians in those early days typically had gold-painted domes on the roof, and this is no doubt the origin of the domes on mosques, since the churches were simply converted into mosques as Islam displaced the Christians.
And this process is being implemented in a vicious manner today.
Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Ahok is on trial for blasphemy for “insulting” the Koran. There are few who cannot see this as an attempt to bring a Christian leader down by any method that might work.
Coptic Christian Bahgat Zakhar, 58, refused to deny Jesus before being gunned down in cold blood in the Sinai region.
We can recall that these following words of Jesus apply to us as well as our persecuted brothers and sisters, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44.)
Hard though it be to love organisations like ISIS, we should pray for their change of heart.
We should find ways to identify with persecuted Christians for as Jesus said, “I was in prison and you came to visit me… truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:36 & 40.)