The pastors of the Acts29 Network are grieving this week as we’ve learned of the death of one of our fellow pastors in Pakistan. For the last few weeks, we had been receiving updates that this pastor and his brother had been arrested for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Muhammad. Indications are that these men were wrongly accused as a form of persecution in the almost totally Muslim area.
Here are a few things on my mind as I consider this series of events:
- Persecution is still a serious reality in the world. I tend to forget that many people around the world continue to suffer imprisonment and death for the sake of Jesus. These brothers and sisters desperately need prayer (for specific opportunities for prayer, visit Voice of the Martyrs).
- My problems are small. The challenges I face and the troubles that seem like a big deal to me are quite small in comparison to true persecution. This is a helpful perspective to remember.
- God has a specific plan for martyrs to give him glory. I keep meditating on Revelation 6:10-11 – ‘They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.’ God has a plan and it will not be done until the number of martyrs is complete. Then he will avenge their blood. Look out.
- What an honor it is to die for Jesus! True martyrs are not those who are looking for death (i.e. suicide bombers). True martyrs are those who are faithfully serving Jesus and are killed as a result. The apostles counted it a joy to be worthy of suffering for Jesus’ name. How much more would it be an eternal honor to die for him?!
- Jesus’ Church will flourish. The old saying goes, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” and history has proven this to be so. When persecution is strong, Jesus is shown to be more valuable than life itself. When this happens, people see his glory and live for him. Jesus builds his church and hell’s gates won’t prevail against it.
In conclusion, let me recommend John Piper’s powerful message, “Doing Missions When Dying is Gain.” It’s worth your time. Pray for Rashid’s family. Pray for God to turn this death for good. And pray that the fame of Jesus would spread.