Read: Matthew 10:26-33
But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30 ESV)
God cares about you deeply. Jesus implicitly expressed this as he prepared to send out his followers to minister to the Jews. The message was multi-faceted, yet clear. The disciples and other followers of Jesus would face persecution, but God would help them. God cared for them. God valued them.
Depending on where you live you may face actual physical persecution for your faith. It is something that is far more prevalent than many in the American Church realize. This kind of persecution always has a variety of outcomes. Sometimes the person is miraculously delivered. Often someone gives their life for their faith.
Jesus reassured his followers that hard times were to come. Following him meant something. It was historic. It was monumental in the shaping of the destiny of creation. And basically all of Jesus’ disciples died martyr’s deaths. John, the youngest of the disciples, was the only one not killed for his faith. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
John was dipped in boiling oil, he was set on fire, and he was poisoned. None of it worked. What was so special about John? I’m not entirely sure. However, I know that Jesus expressed value in all of his followers. A value that extends to those who authentically follow him today. In truth, Jesus knows us better than we even know ourselves. I’ll admit, that thought gives me a great deal of comfort.