“Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them, ‘My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.’“ – Acts 28:17
When publicizing the annual mission conference at our church, there were usually some missionaries whose last names we couldn’t print or even mention the location where they were serving. This was because if it became known that they were missionaries, they could be expelled from the country, imprisoned, or even killed.
Paul was keenly aware of the dangers of sharing Christ, and we cannot forget that our missionaries still face very real persecution – a fact that has hit close to home several times over the past few years. During the last seven years, we have seen a 400 percent increase in persecution on the mission field. Rarely a week goes by that we don’t hear of missionaries being beaten, pastors hospitalized and churches destroyed. And there are many persecutions that are taking place right now, today, as you are reading this devotion.
The persecution of Christian missionaries didn’t end with the lions in Rome. It continues today, throughout the world, led by a legion of groups that hate the Lord and all who spread His Word. We need to pray for our missionaries, support their mission, and honor their incredible courage.