“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ Who are you, Lord? He asked, and the answer came, ‘I am Jesus Christ whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:3-9).
This article serves as Part 2 and conclusion of our earlier article, titled: “Easter and Precariousness of Bearers of Cross Today” (Part 1). Our aim in the present article is to highlight once again, how the post-Easter community of the apostolic church and disciples of Jesus, were gradually, led by their faith in the Risen Christ, to weld the storms of the post-Resurrection trials and persecutions they encountered as believers in Christ.
What are the lessons of this for Christian communities and disciples today, those enduring all kinds of trials and persecutions because of their faith in Jesus Christ or the way society is drifting or changing nowadays? What example Christians and Churches of today could draw from the experience of the apostolic Church and first century Christians? This is the trust of our present article!
The Challenge of Faith in the Risen Christ!
In his teaching on faith, Pope Francis says, “Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives.” (Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Lumen fidei” (June 29, 2013), n.4).
In the Gospel of Luke, we read, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Defending his disciples for acclaiming him, before some Pharisees, Jesus said, “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40). William Shakespeare, in “Macbeth”, tells us, “A traitor … is one that swears and lies.”