Together in Christ: 'Remembering Our Precious Christian Family' — Hebrews 13:3

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

— Hebrews 13:3 NLT

Key Thought

Most American media outlets don't include stories about the persecution and martyrdom of Christians today. I learn about most of it from BBC.com news and "Voice of the Martyrs." The horrors of ISIS's persecution of believers during ISIS's reign of terror are unspeakable. Some made the American press, but not nearly enough to represent what happened. Directly ignoring these commands in today's verse, most modern Christians are willfully ignorant of our brothers and sisters who are suffering worldwide. Their circumstances and mistreatment are abysmal, and we miss an excellent opportunity to pray for and connect with them. Thank God for those groups of believers who visit prisons, write to the persecuted, pray for the mistreated, and empathize by feeling "their pain" in their bodies as they stand in solidarity with these suffering, mistreated, persecuted, and martyred believers. As persecution continues to rise all over the world, let's make it a point to stay informed and be prayer warriors with them, and when possible, find ways to encourage and help them.

Jesus called us together to be His family, born again as brothers and sisters and children of one Abba Father. [1] When one suffers, we all should feel the suffering. When one rejoices, we should rejoice. As the apostle Paul said:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. [2]

Earlier in Hebrews, the Holy Spirit had already emphasized how this group of primarily Jewish believers to whom Hebrews was written had stood together during a previous wave of persecution. [3] Now, in the closing exhortations concerning proper worship, [4] He urges them — and us — in today's verse to redouble their empathy and strengthen their efforts to support those in Jesus' family who are persecuted and suffering.

We know how the story of our world and our family of faith ends: "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language" [5] gather around the throne of Jesus in joyous and triumphant worship. [6] Let's not forget that people of other nations, tribes, races, and languages who love Jesus are our brothers and sisters in Christ and are suffering and dying because of their faith!

[1] John 3:3-7; Titus 3:3-7; Romans 8:9, 14-19.
[2] Romans 12:15 NIV.
[3] Hebrews 10:32-34.
[4] Hebrews 12:28-29 along with Hebrews 13:15-16 form the bookends — called an inclusion — that frame teaching on proper, everyday worship. Remembering by caring and praying for those in prison and suffering is part of that worship.
[5] Revelation 7:9 NIV.
[6] Revelation 7:9-12.

Today's Prayer

Dear father, my heart is breaking as I think of my brothers and sisters worldwide facing great hardships, persecution, and even martyrdom for their faith in Jesus. Open my eyes to their struggles, and please hear my prayer for their deliverance. As I remember that they are my brothers and sisters in Christ, I also ask that You work to deliver them as Your precious children. In Jesus' name and for Jesus' family, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 5:3-16
  • Romans 12:9-21, 8:9, 14-19

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Illustration

Illustration of Hebrews 13:3 NLT — Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.