Peace In Persecution
Updated: Sep 25
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” - John 20:19 (ESV).
Reading John’s account of what it was like for Christ’s disciples after the Lord’s death and burial especially captured my attention today. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been following the news of how radical Muslims are burning churches and homes of Christians in Pakistan.
It’s easy to take religious freedom for granted. But that’s not the case for those who live in countries hostile toward Christianity.
In a few weeks, I will be traveling to Uzbekistan to listen, encourage, and equip our pastors and leaders in this nation. Uzbekistan is 98% Muslim. Most of my ministry in Uzbekistan is behind “locked doors,” humble homes, and dwellings less likely to be noticed by government officials or suspecting neighbors.
On my last ministry there, I met with several pastors and church leaders, who, as recent as 4-years ago, had been imprisoned and tortured for their faith in Christ. Although fewer restrictions are imposed upon Uzbekistan Christians today, these people continue to live with uncertainty and caution.
So did the disciples of Jesus.
Fearful, confused, uncertain about what would happen next, overwhelmed by the sadness of the loss of Jesus, and questions of “what’s next?” consumed Christ’s disciples who were “locked behind closed doors.” Those same emotions and questions are experienced and asked by many today.
Opposition to Jesus and his followers continues. For some living in countries like Pakistan or Uzbekistan, to remain faithful to Christ is extraordinarily costly. In less threatening areas of the world, some of us feel the sting of rejection and ridicule. Possibly you recognize that following Jesus is unpopular, no matter where we live.
Amid the disciple’s fear and turmoil Jesus appears to them. When we’re confused and apprehensive Jesus speaks to us: “Peace be with you.”
What’s your fear? Will you hear the comforting and reassuring words Christ speaks to you?
“Peace be with you!”
Are you looking for a place to receive spiritual direction and encouragement in these challenging times? Please consider joining my mailing list. Each Wednesday you’ll receive my latest blog posts with practical content designed to support you in your life and faith.