READ: Leviticus 19-21, Psalm 38, Mark 10, Romans 10
Jesus promises that whoever has left family, houses, and lands for His sake, and for the gospel’s, will receive in this life all that and more – 100 times more in fact (Mark 10:30). This is certainly true in frontier mission. Those who leave home and hearth to plant the Church where it has not been planted enter a brotherhood surprisingly joyous and tender. Arab, African, Asian, American, and Anglo come together to form a family as loving as it is varied. To stop here (a loving international family being the reward of those who leave their homeland and physical families) is to only drive halfway to the truth. Jesus in fact said that those who follow Him to where He is not known would receive all the above “with persecutions.”
Our inheritance is to suffer together. Those that bear the name of Jesus beyond the borders of safety are granted the special honor of trial together. How blessed it is to suffer together. This is our sacred communion, it is our heritage, it is our joy. There is something twisted about Western believers only sending money and prayer to those under pressure and persecution. We not only misrepresent Jesus (who suffered outside the camp with and for His brethren), we also falsely communicate that our lives are more precious than their lives – as theirs are expendable and ours are pampered. Tragically, too, we miss out on a treasured inheritance: the joy of suffering with others. The fellowship of His sufferings demands participation not just empathetic observation.
Suffering together unifies the body of Christ. Suffering together does more for trust building and reconciliation than a thousand seminars. Suffering together beautifies the Church and prepares Christ’s bride for His return. Suffering together glorifies Jesus. Suffering together ultimately leads to unleashed life.
As the master so shall the servant be, and “pierced are the hands that follow Thee.” Jesus was betrayed, so will we be. Jesus was condemned. So will we be. Jesus was delivered up. So will we be. Jesus was mocked. So will we be. Jesus was scourged. So will we be. Jesus was spit on. So will we be. Jesus was killed. So will we be. Jesus rose again – so will we. And when that rising is multi-ethnic it cannot be attributed to the fortune of man or the arbitrary luck of context. Only a joined persecution can give unquestioned glory to the Father. Only multi-cultural persecution leads to the obedience of all nations.