2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
Jesus is warning the apostles that they, too, will suffer for believing in him. It wasn’t long before his warning became reality. The early Christians were put out of the synagogues and the Jewish leaders did try to kill them. We remember how Saul stood by while Stephen was stoned and then went and tried to find other Christians so that they, too, could be killed. It wasn’t until Jesus revealed himself to Saul that he realized the error of his ways and became the great apostle Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Acts records the arrests of Peter, John and others for preaching about Jesus. Paul was also brought before the Sanhedrin. All were beaten. The only reason that these were released was that the Jewish leaders feared the backlash from the people because of the miracles of healing that occurred in their presence. Through the centuries people have been persecuted for their beliefs. This still continues today in certain parts of the world. But persecution can be more subtle today. There is a Christian company that operates craft and home goods stores that do not open on Sundays.
Now, the state where I live used to have some of the strictest “blue laws” in the country. That means that for quite a while, very few businesses were allowed to open on a Sunday. These laws were overturned about forty years ago. Because this Christian company refuses to open on Sunday, they are not able to open a store in this state. There are other Christian companies that find it hard to get permits as well. Over two thousand years later, the warning for believers is still valid.
Lord, you warned your apostles and you warn all who believe in you that there are consequences. Please continue to give us the courage to witness our faith proudly. Amen.