It is a mistake to think of the Christian life as a comfortable, easy one. True followers of Jesus are those who are prepared to risk their reputation and resources to defend the poor, widows, orphans and the oppressed. The keenest disciples of Jesus as described in the New Testament were not those who ended up leading a wealthy pampered existence, but those who were prepared to risk their lives and everything they owned. Revelation chapter 17 describes what has happened and will happen to many witnesses of Jesus:

He carried me away in the Spirit to a wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored animal with seven heads and ten horns, covered with words that were insulting to God. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and decorated with gold and precious stones and pearls. In her hand was a golden cup full of depravity and the impurities of her immorality. On her forehead was written, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of the depravities of the Earth.” I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the believers, and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. I was astonished when I saw her.

Most Christians are not required to shed their blood, to give up their lives, for their faith – but some are – and all Christians are called to stand up as witnesses against the forces of evil. The forces of evil are personified in chapter 17 of the Revelation as the woman Babylon the Great, and she is covered in words that are insulting to God, holding a cup full of depravity, and being drunk on  the blood of the believers.

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