“Aren’t you afraid?” She puckered her face up, a tiny shiver registering in her shoulders as she looked at me quizzically. “It’s so violent there, I hear about it all the time on television.”
Her question was not unusual. I have heard it numerous times as people discover I am a missionary in a violent foreign land.
I understand this question when it comes from people who have no commitment to Jesus Christ, but quite honestly I am startled when asked this of people who proclaim to be followers of Jesus Christ.
In Luke Chapter 10, verse 27, we find the following scenario:
An expert of the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly, “ Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Jesus response of, “Do this….” indicates a necessary response of action from the inquirer.
While this scenario was a parable, it has truths to be applied to our lives.
We can’t earn eternal life. It is not bought with some behavior on our part. It is only by the love, grace and forgiveness of our sins from God that we are offered an opportunity to participate in a relationship with God and eternal life.
The second part of this great commandment is, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
His love and our love in return should solicit a response from us of faithfulness to his expressed will from His word concerning others.
“He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Jesus upon his exit from earth left this message for his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Is there any action as potent for showing love to another as sharing the good news of redemption offered by the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
“I think not!”
Is there danger and potential for harm by living and serving in the country I serve in?
After the resurrection of Christ, efforts to spread the gospel and expand the Kingdom of God have often resulted in people giving a witness to the truth of Christ with their lives, even with death.
Most of the disciples themselves were martyrs, defined as one who bears witness to something with their death.
James, the son of Zebedee was beheaded. Matthew was killed by an ax. James, Jesus’ Brother was beaten to death. Matthias was beheaded. Mark was torn to pieces. Peter was crucified upside down; the others all believed to be martyred.
At present time 200 million in 60 nations are denied rights for one reason only: they are followers of Jesus Christ.
Just this week, a 59-year-old Christian was beheaded in a country with no tolerance for Christianity. Eight Iranian Christians were sentenced to prison for “propaganda against the system.” Seven men imprisoned in India for their belief in Christ.
It is a dangerous place: the world. It is a place of darkness: wrought by Satan. It is a place of slavery: sin. It is a place of separation: from God.
We, those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, have been given the responsibility and privilege of carrying the story of redemption and hope to people living in a dangerous, dark, sin enslaved, separated from God, world.
“Am I afraid?” was the question.
“So do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
My love for God and my love for others compel me to be a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever I may go.
The expansion of the Kingdom of God is bound only by our unwillingness.
“Are we willing to allow our lives to be examples that prove the strength and genuineness of our faith in Christ?”
Scripture References: (NIV) Luke 10:27, 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 28: 18-20, Matthew10:28.
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