"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Jesus (Matthew 5:11-2, ESV)
It is unclear what is going to happen to Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor living in Iran. What is clear is that he has been accused and convicted of abandoning the Islamic faith - which carries a death penalty in Iran. So far he has refused to renounce his Christian faith. His defense has been that he was never a Muslim as an adult and therefore, under Iranian law, has not committed a capital offense. Regardless, he says he will not renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.
He is facing persecution and execution.
Here in the United States, Christians face ridicule for having faith in Jesus. But rarely do we face execution for our faith today.
But it still happens in the world today, just as it did starting in the 1st Century AD.
The question I'm pondering today is: Would I be able to do what Yousef Nadarkhani is doing? Would I be able to publicly declare my faith in Jesus Christ, even to the point of death by execution?