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Persecution of Followers

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It has been my privilege to be able to share the gospel in the 52 different countries, that I have been able to travel in. In most countries this has included schools, hospitals, jails, universities, churches, and even open-air evangelism. In two or three countries we have receiv … More

Persecution

It appears that a widespread persecution of the followers of John and Jesus took place at this time.  When Jesus heard about John’s imprisonment He went from Nazareth to live in Capernaum (v. 12-13). Luke explains the reason for Jesus leaving Nazareth was an attempt on his life (Luke 4:16-31). From this point on, Capernaum became the headquarters of Jesus’ ministry.

John had been arrested by Herod Antipas and thrown into the dungeon at the palace at Machaerus on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The reason for this was because John had condemned Herod for his wickedness which included the taking of his half-brother Phillip’s wife, Herodias for himself (v. 14:3-4). Even though it is right it is dangerous to confront evil. John’s condemnation of moral wickedness cost the prophet his freedom and eventually his life.

Preaching was a central part of Jesus’ ministry and still needs to be the central part of the ministry of His church today. Preaching is the proclamation of certainties and not the suggestion of possibilities. Jesus preached with authority and not as the scribes (Matt.  7:29). The scribes had mixed Biblical truth with the teachings and traditions of men so much that they could no longer distinguish God’s Word from men’s words. We see this happening today among cults.

Application

Is it easy to speak up against sin today?  Is it necessary for me to speak out against sin? I need to be able to give an answer for the hope that is in me in every situation that I may face in this life.

Matthew 4:12-17 (English Standard Version)

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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