«They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me» (John 16:2, 3).
It was 5:30 AM when shots were heard on the premises of Garissa University College (Kenya). Screaming and confusion quickly ensued while the intruders did a quick evaluation of the people. The intruders took students from one of the campus residences as hostages. At the same time, they set free those who exercised the Muslim religion and assassinated the Christians by gunshots or decapitation. Some terrorists detonated their bomb vests causing further damages. These acts were attributed to the extremist group Al Shabab who announced that they would paint the cities with blood until they killed all those who exercised a different religion, in order to recover the Muslim territory.
Beyond religion, it is sad to see that this was caused by people who believe that through their violent and criminal acts, they are rendering faithful service to God. Acts like this one have been repeatedly seen throughout the history of mankind. Doesn’t this sound familiar? There are groups of people who come together in order to hurt and exterminate others, with the conviction that they are rendering service to God.
During the time of Christ, those who attempted to take His life were not people from other religious communities, rather, they shared the same church. With falsehoods and diversions, the chief priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees fed the public their prejudice against Christ to the point of making His ministry almost impossible (Christ Triumphant, p. 29). When the right moment came, through their evil influence, they inspired perverse men until they saw Him hanging on a cross.
These kinds of evil acts against the disciples of Christ will perpetuate until the end of times. Foreseeing these afflictions, the Lord Jesus warned us, «If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you» (John 15:18). In order to encourage those who suffer similar atrocities, He indicated, «Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt. 5:11, 12).
Now think about the kind of service you are offering. Do you impose your ideas or behaviors on others through your power? Do you restrict the freedom of conscience of your neighbor through punishment? Remember that these methods have never characterized true service to God.