Christians suffer because of bad political decisions of rulers. “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan” (Prov. 29:2). Jesus predicted a period of great tribulation for the nation of Israel because of bad political decisions.
In AD 30, the rulers of the Jews decided that it was better that one man should die then for the nation of Israel as a whole to perish. So Jesus was placed into the hands of the Roman system of jurisprudence demanding that He be crucified. Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea washed his hands of the situation and crucified Christ. The matter was closed.
The years passed. But then, in the summer of AD 66 new Jewish leaders encouraged a revolt against Rome. Soldiers marched against the city. From a human perspective, this was a local revolt in the vast Roman Empire that had to be put down to keep the Pax Roman.
From a Divine point of view, these were days of vengeance as God the Father responded to the cries of those who said, “Let the blood of Jesus be on us, and our children!” And so it was. Great Tribulation had come upon the Jews, such as the world had never seen. Many Christians were caught up in this national calamity.
In the midst of the carnage, some Christians remembered the word of the Lord that had been given on the Mount of Olives in AD 30. They remembered that Jesus said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened (Matt. 24:15-22).
There were Christians who were saved from the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 because they remembered, listened to the words of the Lord, and obeyed. They fled to Petra and did not perish. Those who listened to their religious and political leaders did perish or were deported. Christians suffer because of bad political decisions.
Christians suffer when their own standards of decency and morality are violated. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:1-7).
On November 8, 2019, the headline on a major news web site read: “Christian comedian John Crist cancels tour, confesses to sexual sins.” The article that followed explained the situation for Crist did not deny the accusations of five women. “I confess to being guilty of this – I have treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly…My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I’ve sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most.” When Christians violate their own standards of decency and morality, they suffer, and others suffer too.
Christians suffer from the ravages of war. They are causalities of the conflicts of the ungodly. By way of application, the words of Jesus in AD 30 are relevant today. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:6). There are wars today in the Middle East, and many Christians are being slaughtered. The news media has not adequately reported the genocide against the Christian community in Syria, one of the oldest in the world, going back two thousand years.
The apostle Paul was converted on the road to Damascus which is in the southern part of Syria. Christians from the town of Maaloula still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. There are many atrocities being committed as the Syrians fight, not just with each other in a civil war, but with, and against others as well, since their internal conflict has spilt over to neighboring Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Jordan creating a regional nightmare. Christians suffer from the excesses of war. They are the causalities of the conflict of wars.
Christians suffer by not knowing, or by not remembering the promises of God. It was the third day after the crucifixion of Christ. Some women had come to the grave where Joseph of Aramathea had placed the body of Jesus. They wanted to honor His body and prepare it more properly for burial. But the body could not be found. The sepulcher was empty. “Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:11-13).
Oh, Mary. Why do you weep? Do you not remember how the Lord told you often that He would be arrested, and put to death. But on the third day He would rise again? Woman, why are you weeping? Now stand up Mary and turn around. Mary stood up. She turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But still, she did not know it was the Lord. Why? Because her tears were still flowing, and because she had not remembered the promise of the Lord. Christians suffer needless fear and worry because they neglect the many promises given to comfort and encourage the believer.