We who read Christian-oriented news find that there is a lot of persecution in this world, especially in some Muslim-dominated countries.
But it is not just "over there." The western hemisphere suffers from this kind of persecution, as well. Just last week a Colombian pastor was killed, brutally murdered for preaching the gospel. The terrorist group, which some would try to call a legitimate voice in Colombia, feared the freedom that the gospel brings. It's not surprising. The gospel is liberating. It frees men from the tyranny of godless rulers, especially because Christ's kingdom is not of this world.
We should not be surprised when we read of such things. Paul told Timothy that those who choose to live godly in Christ Jesus would suffer persecution. You can have a form of godliness, you see; Muslims do, as do Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, and a long list of others. They will even tolerate you if you are a nominal, compromising Christian. But you will not be tolerated if you live godly in Christ Jesus, for it is He that makes the difference. Dare I say it? Jesus is the X-factor. Add him to the equation and it upsets the balance of things in the minds of those who follow the prince of this world.
The day is now upon us in the west when we will pay a price for our commitment to Jesus Christ. It will seldom be televised or reported. After all, we're just Christians; we are dispensable in the world's eyes. But it will be recorded and noted by the Lord. And those who suffer for Christ's sake should rejoice (see the Sermon on the Mount, as well as Acts 5). They have been given a special honor when it happens for Christ. Rejoice and pray. And remember: they persecute us because they hate Jesus.