In Matthew 20:22, Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”

The Greek word for baptize is “baptizo.” This word was used by Plato (fourth century B.C.) to describe a man being “overwhelmed” by philosophical arguments; or it means sponges being “dipped” in fluid; and by Strabo (first century B.C.) to describe people who could not swim as being “submerged” under water. Josephus in the first century A.D. used the word to describe the city of Jerusalem as being “overwhelmed” or “plunged” into destruction by the Romans; and Plutarch (also first century A.D.) used this word to refer to a person being “immersed” in the sea. In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the O.T.), “baptizo” is used to describe Naaman dipping himself in the Jordan River (2 Ki. 5:14). From classical Greek right down to New Testament Greek, the same basic meaning has been retained: “To immerse, submerge, dip or plunge.” Jesus is stating that the disciples will indeed be plunged into the same sufferings that He will experience.

In Hebrews 11 we see the memories of men of faith and in Heb 11:35-39 we read ‘Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,[ were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains,in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith’

There are many forms of persecution. Having your life threatened because of your faith in Jesus is one way you can be persecuted. History shows that the church has always flourished under persecution with increased numbers and zeal. During intense, life-threatening persecution, people’s priorities get straightened out and the Lord assumes His rightful place. This always works for our good, regardless of what our outward circumstances might be. It helps to recognize that it is not you that they are persecuting, but rather Christ in you. You are actually partaking in His sufferings and will share in His rewards. With this in mind, we can actually shout and leap for joy in times of persecution.

With our eyes focus on Jesus, we like Moses can ‘chose to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. Moses thought that being insulted for Christ would be better than having the treasures of Egypt. He was looking ahead to his reward.’ Hebrews 11:25:26.

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