He will not allow His church to fail
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. — Matt. 5:10-12.
Last Sunday, we celebrated All Saints Day, which officially falls on November 1. All Saints Day or All Hallows Day was first celebrated during the fourth century, shortly after Christianity was legalized by the Roman Emperor Constantine. It was initially celebrated on May 13. Pope Gregory IV, during the ninth century, officially dedicated November 1 as the Feast of All Saints, transferring it from May 13.
During the Old Testament period, many of the prophets were persecuted by the Jewish kings. Jeremiah, often referred to as the weeping prophet, suffered much during his ministry. Twice he was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death. According to Jewish tradition the prophet Isaiah was sawed in half with a wooden saw, at the command of King Manasseh.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was most inhumanly persecuted even though He was a good man. He came to give us life and give it more abundantly. Yet, they nailed Him to a cruel cross because He preached the good news, telling people of a gracious and merciful God. He suffered so that we would not have to face God’s wrath.
In the early church, Christians were persecuted because of their faith. It is said that during the first century, Nero, the Roman Emperor, was responsible for the great fire of Rome, which almost destroyed the economy of Rome. Nero shifted the blame from himself to the Christians who were hated.
To display his disgust and hatred for Christians, he nailed some to crosses; some were fed to wild dogs while others were burned, particularly for light. It is because of the many Christians who were martyred that All Hallows or All Saints Day was established.
Today, All Saints Day commemorates all Christians who have gone from among us.
The above text is about Jesus’ most famous teaching, the sermon on the mount. This sermon is about Beatitudes or blessings. Some translate Beatitudes as happiness. However, in terms of the happiness we know, these are much more. When Jesus declared blessing to His disciples, He was talking about the inner joy and peace that comes with being right with God.
Christians are constantly under attack from the devil and the world. As baptized citizens of the kingdom of God, we are the enemies of the devil. He battles us on every side, trying to deceive and make us doubt our Christian faith.
Jesus tells us that we are “Blessed when people insult us, persecute us and falsely say all kinds of evil against us.” Christians who are persecuted are in a good company.
Jesus reassures us, in His own words that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Take heart and trust in God. The church is founded upon Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. He gave His life for the church.
Even though we suffer, Jesus tells us, we must rejoice and be happy. Why should we be happy about suffering? Well to start with, this earth is not our home. We are only pilgrims here. We will have our trials and temptations and the devil will give the impression that the church is losing the fight against sin. But remember, this is God’s church. He is the architect and chief builder. He will not allow His church to fail.
Let us rejoice and be glad. The suffering and afflictions and indignity we suffer for Christ cannot compare to the pleasure and joy which we will inherit. Amen
n Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be contacted at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: [email protected], Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.