If they persecuted me, they will persecute you

Jesus says that if they persecuted Him, they will persecute us as well.

Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (John 15:20).

 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).

In these warnings Jesus says, “they will persecute you.” Who is He referring to when He says “they”? Search the Scriptures to see who it was that persecuted Jesus. The same people who persecuted Jesus will persecute the followers of Christ today. When we examine Scripture we find that it was the religious leaders and teachers of the law who persecuted Jesus.

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him (John 5:14-16).

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him (Matthew 26:3-4).

Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words (Luke 19:47-48).

The religious leaders were not the only ones who persecuted Christ. But it does appear from Scripture that they were the main group who persecuted Christ and His followers.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13).

So, if we are living the life that Jesus calls us to today, where will our persecution to come from? If Scripture is an accurate indication, we can expect our persecution to come from religious leaders.

You say, I am not being persecuted and yet I am a follower of Christ. Then the Bible must be wrong. Certainly, not!

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test (2 Corinthians 13:5)?

Be careful you are not relying on the teaching of man in these last days. Because the Scripture reveals that in the last days people will not put up with sound doctrine. This may mean that sound doctrine is not being preached today in the household of God.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The only way to protect yourself from deception is to remain in the Word of God under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Do not trust anyone but the Lord your God. So, if you find yourself defining your religion / faith by using the name of a denomination or a man other than Christ, you are probably in trouble.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:17-19).

Remember, test everything by the Word of God, not by what man tells you it says.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2).

Richard H Perry