But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
The author of Hebrews is referring to an earlier time when the listeners had first received the good news of Jesus and endured many hardships. It was not easy to be a follower of Jesus in first century Israel as there were many persecutions and people being tortured and killed because of their faith. All we have to do is turn to Acts to see this.
Is it much different being a Christian today? There are still many places around the world where the Christian faith is not welcome and people are persecuted. The Gospel message of Jesus Christ is one that questions the status quo and turns people towards a God of love and acceptance. Yet, many remain strong and follow the letter to the Hebrews in the regard that they must endure through any hardships and struggles. They know what is most important in life and their faith is strong. Following the teachings of Jesus even in America at times is counter-cultural. May our proclamation continue to shine Christ’s light in the darkness.
Let us Pray.
Lord, we pray for those around the world that do not have the freedom to openly express their faith in you. Be with them and provide them peace and comfort in times of hardship and struggle. May we be a voice for those whose voices are not heard. AMEN.