By Dominic Sputo, Lumenlife.org– My dear friend has reported about the violence in Nigeria against Christians. He is distraught because his people have been viciously murdered by Islamists. In the aftermath of the attack, a pastor who was devastated by the tragedy sent this 90-second video. I hope you’ll watch it…it is an important part of our journey to knowing Jesus. In our relationship with Jesus, we naturally gravitate toward wanting to know Him in the power and glory of His resurrection. But the apostle Paul also taught that there’s more to knowing Jesus through the fellowship of His suffering. (Philippians 3:10) In fact, to really know Jesus means to fellowship with Him in His suffering!
And Jesus absolutely is suffering today. Although He died 2,000 years ago, He is still despised and rejected by men who are persecuting Him through his children. Learning about persecution and watching this video is an important part of our journey to knowing Jesus. But persecution doesn’t have to be depressing. You see, persecution is the cross and the good news is, the cross has two stories.
Yes, JESUS IS ALIVE! And perhaps nowhere else on Earth will we find Jesus more visibly alive than in the persecuted church. God is showing up among His persecuted people in ways that we rarely get to see in the U.S. It’s not our fault, though. Many of us were born into a comfort and a security that limits our fellowship with Jesus. But Jesus still expects us to press on in knowing Him by embracing those who are in prison and affliction as though we are with them — since we’re also in the same body! (see Hebrews 13:3).
And the reward for taking this journey…well how can we possibly put a value on the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ? As painful as the video is to watch, it was worth it because it brought me closer to the reality of the cross and Jesus’ unfathomable love and suffering for us.