“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 a mission conference at our church, there were some missionaries whose last names we couldn’t print or even mention the location where they were serving. This is because if it had 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 over the past few years. In 2002, several of our medical missionaries who had dedicated their lives in service to the people of Yemen were brutally murdered by a pack of Islamic terrorists right in the hospital where they worked. And there was the case of Graham Staines, a missionary to India. He ran a leper clinic, caring for the most outcast of Indian society, yet he was martyred for his faith, killed along with his two young sons. And there are many similar stories that are taking place right now, today, as you are reading this devotion.
No, 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.