Speaking to the soul – August 16

Facing opposition

Jesus said: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” John 15:18-19

Jesus faced opposition throughout his ministry. It was important that his disciples knew the same would be true for them. In these verses, Jesus gives the reason for this. Fundamentally, they no longer belonged to this world. Of course they continued to live in the world, but their values and objectives had totally changed since they met Christ.

This was an important message for the disciples, all of whom were going to face brutal opposition in the years to come. Indeed, apart from John, they were all killed because of their faith. Peter was martyred around AD 66 during a time of persecution headed by the Roman emperor Nero. Peter demanded that he be crucified upside down, not feeling worthy to be crucified in the same way as his master. Thomas, who is generally believed to have taken the gospel to India, was pierced to death by the spears of four soldiers. Matthew is said to have been stabbed to death in Egypt. James was stoned and clubbed to death, and Matthias burnt alive.

Such appalling suffering is hard for us to imagine. However, many Christians around the world are experiencing such suffering today. In Nigeria, for example, Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are determined to eliminate Christianity from the country. More Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria than in the rest of the world combined. We need to keep our Christian brothers and sisters in
our prayers as they face up to the daily reality of Jesus’ words.

Our situation may be very different from that of Nigeria, and the many other parts of the world where there is violent opposition to the Christian faith. However, Jesus’ words are an important reminder to us that we should never be surprised when we are rejected, criticised or opposed because of our faith.


Has anyone ever rejected you because of your belief in Christ? If so, how did you respond? If not, how do you think you would react if that did happen?


Lord God, help me to stand strongly for you however fierce the opposition. Amen