Day 20: Jesus Is Warning Us

Read John 16:1-4

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you...”


Today, read the passage in The Message. “I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them.”

The Bible was written for all the people, in every culture, for all times. You may not personally be someone who is being killed or imprisoned because of your faith, but as part of the body of Christ, each of us still has a responsibility for our sisters and brothers that are being persecuted.

The Bible was written for all the people, in every culture, for all times.


A few years ago, my husband and I went to Vietnam to speak at a Bible training conference for pastors. We were supposed to speak at one location, but the gathering was tipped off to government officials and the conference was going to be shut down. We decided to leave our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City immediately that morning. The pastors and their spouses attending the conference, along with us, travelled for over two hours to a different location in another part of the country. We arrived at a rugged retreat site with peaceful surroundings and settled in to our rooms. Clearly, this group had lots of experience in avoiding the government’s raids on religious gatherings and had a “Plan B” from the beginning. We got settled in to our new location and continued teaching that evening.

In reflecting with the conference organizer, he told us we weren’t in danger. If we were captured, the government would only confiscate our Christian materials and compel us to leave the country. In addition, the owners of the conference site would lose their business license and be unable to continue their livelihood. There was great financial risk for the owners and their families.

Through the next five days, I began to interact with the pastors and their spouses. One beautiful, humble person after another, shared with me about their time in prison for being Christ-followers. A lovely woman I met, Ruth (she changed her name because she loved the Old Testament book of Ruth), was arrested for having a house church in her home and was in prison for almost a year. I didn’t get all the details of what she experienced while in prison, but she indicated it was a season of great suffering.

For Christ-followers, in many high-risk countries like Vietnam and many countries in the Middle East, Lenten season is particularly dangerous. Just two years ago, on Palm Sunday 2017, suicide bombings at two Coptic Christian churches, one in Alexandria and the other in Tanta, left 45 people dead and many more wounded. Although there has been an uptick in violence against Christians in the region, Egypt is hardly alone in a long list of countries that are violently hostile towards Christians.

John 16:1 teaches us to prepare for rough times ahead, but as you see many Christ-followers are already in those rough times. Today, could you please join others to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being actively persecuted throughout the world?