Often as I do exegesis and prepare a sermon I encounter the biblical characters (often those preparing for or following Christ) facing persecution. Mary and Joseph were forced to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus' life. John the baptist was beheaded. I think all but one of the disciples was killed. Paul was imprisoned multiple times and eventually murdered. Being a Christ follower was not an easy gig. And as part of my preaching, I regularly find myself saying, "Following Christ is difficult and we must be prepared to suffer for the sake of the gospel." And I really believe that. And yet, I rarely see American Christians actually suffering for the sake of the gospel. (It's much more common internationally...) and tonight I had to ask myself, "If we're not persecuted, does that mean we're not really being faithful?" Now, don't get me wrong; I don't think God wants us to be persecuted, but I do think the Gospel is challenging and confrontational and political and that people are bound to get their feathers ruffled. So if that's not happening, are we really living the gospel??
What do you think?