April 12

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you on account of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:12-13 NIV)

Jesus finishes His discourse on persecution by warning us that we’re not even safe from it within our own families. In Muslim countries you can see this happening today. It is death to convert to Christ from Islam. Your family by Islamic law is to kill you as an infidel.

Paul writes about how the “god of this age,” Satan, has blinded the minds and hearts of unbelievers, so that they will not believe and be saved. Often the question is asked, “Why don’t people just accept Jesus?” The simple answer is that they are spiritually blind. Without Christ intervening on our behalf we would be also.

We need to wait for the Lord’s strength to help in times of trial. We need to pray that God will deliver the lost, especially those we are working with. Jesus’ warning was given so that the church will not be taken by surprise when persecution comes.

At the end, Christ added that he who endures to the end will be saved. What does this mean? I believe Jesus meant that those who endure will show that they are truly born again. It is by this kind of perseverance that the true believer is known.