October 2 – The Identity of Persecution

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” – Luke 6:18 (NASB)

Persecution comes from many sources and for many reasons. It’s easy to feel persecuted. It’s more difficult to identify real persecution when it is happening to you. We may feel picked on, or demeaned without experiencing persecution for our faith. The unbelieving world is turning up the heat on believers with increased efforts to cancel, cause injury, grief, or suffering because of one’s Christian testimony. We too swiftly wrongly classify an unpleasant encounter unwelcome regulation as persecution. “The words of Jesus here embody a prophecy. They describe what’s going to happen to followers of Jesus after his departure from this earth. However, it’s not at all necessary to limit this  entirely to the future. Right at this very moment, while the Master is still with his disciples, this hatred is already manifesting itself.”[1] One essential element to understand persecution. Persecution is identified as when evil is spoken or acted against a Christian falsely for Christ’s sake or in His name. Persecution per se is not something to be sought but true persecution of believers happens it carries with it the blessing of God.

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[1] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 11:342.

March 23 – Jesus said, “I Am

And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” – Mark 14:60-62 (ESV)


Our passage today from the Gospel according to Mark, covers the illegal trial of Jesus before the Seventy of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council). Witnesses have lied about Jesus and twisted His words into things Jesus never said. The High Priest wants to find legal means according to Jewish law to condemn Jesus to death. In Matthew 26:63 The High Priest is puts Jesus under oath by declaring, “by the living God” and demands an answer, an admission or denial, as to whether Jesus considered himself to be the Messiah and the Son of God.* Jesus unequivocally answered, “I AM,” meaning, “I am indeed the Christ, the Son of the Blessed.*” In fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7, Jesus refused to reply to the false accusations or open his mouth to defend Himself. Now He responds with an absolute by saying, “You said (it), I am the Messiah, the Son of God.” Therefore, His meaning is a majestic, assertion that He is indeed The Anointed of God. “Yes, I AM.” He confirms that He is the Messiah. Our promise from Jesus is that one day we too will see Jesus come again in power with the clouds of heaven.

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*The title “Blessed One,” found in this sense only here in the New Testament, is a Jewish substitute for “God”. The Jews avoided every opportunity to say or even write the name of God YHWH and instead created substitute titles known to be references to God. These two titles of Jesus both refer to His claim to be the Messiah. The Jews also know very well the implication behind the name “I AM” for that is the name claimed by God YHWH Himself.