Christians are commanded to promote the welfare of everyone, including those who are in prison.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
Some think this command merely says we are to be concerned about prisoners in general and need to pray for them and enable them to hear the gospel. There are many Christian organizations dedicated to reaching prisoners with the gospel. Perhaps the best known of these is Prison Fellowship. This is certainly a legitimate application of this verse, but I don’t think it is what the author of Hebrews had in mind. When the New Testament was being written Christians often faced severe persecution and many were in prison because of their faith. This statement is a reminder not to forget them. Read the rest of this entry
King Herod began to persecute the church.
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:1-5)
The church prayed for Peter and their prayers were answered.
Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. (Acts 12:6,7)
When a believer is imprisoned because of his faith we should pray for him. The church prayed for Peter and he was freed in response to their prayers. But should we just pray that the imprisoned believer be released? Paul might have held a different opinion. Read the rest of this entry
Jesus told his disciples that a time was coming when they would be persecuted for their faithfulness to him: Luke 21:12-19. He made this promise, “Not a hair of your head will perish.”
This is a wonderful promise but it seems to contradict what Jesus said immediately before.
You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish.
Jesus told the disciples many of them would be put to death and immediately after promised that they would suffer no harm. How can these two statements be reconciled? Read the rest of this entry
Anyone who follows the news is aware of the persecution Christians suffer at the hands of Muslims. Few people are aware of the fact that a Muslim people known as the Rohingya, who live in Myanmar, face persecution by the Buddhist population of that country.
The Rohingya are often said to be the world‘s most persecuted minority. They are an ethnic Muslim group in the majority Buddhist country and make up around one million of the total 50 million population.
They hail from the country‘s northwest and speak a Bengali dialect. Almost all live in Rakhine, one of the poorest states, with a population of three million.
About 140,000 Rohingya in the Rakhine state live in ghetto-like camps that they can‘t leave without government permission.
Some of you may have read a book called God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew. In it the author described his work of helping persecuted Christians in Communist countries by smuggling Bibles into their countries. The book was published in 1967 but Brother Andrew is still very much involved in helping persecuted Christians. He has founded an organization called Open Doors for the purpose of carrying on the work he began.
Here is how Brother Andrew’s work began.
Peter and the other apostles were imprisoned by order of the high priest and were freed from prison by an angel.
But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Peter was imprisoned again when King Herod began persecuting the church.
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
When Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Cyprus they encountered opposition from a false prophet name Bar-Jesus.
When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
Acts 13:6-8 Read the rest of this entry
When Paul was on his final journey to Jerusalem he spent some time at the home of a man named Philip.
On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
We are told two things about him: he was an evangelist and he was one of the seven. Read the rest of this entry