Jesus in our gospel today is speaking of a time when it would be hard to be his followers.  He knew that after his ascension into heaven, persecution would necessarily follows.  In the face of that persecution, he posed an invitation to his followers and said:  “This would give you an opportunity to testify.”  For the early disciples this is just beyond speaking about Jesus.  It literally means shedding of their blood.  Following Jesus during that time literally meant that you were prepared to stand by what you believe and would rather choose death than compromise.  There were no grey areas then.  The circumstances changed but the invitation is the same for us.  We live in an age where persecution to the point of bloodshed is contained and rare.  But persecution exists.  It exists in subtle form and thus is deadlier than that of the early Christian days.  Today we as Christians are sometimes persecuted when they label us narrow minded and uncompassionate.  What the world is actually telling us is that if we are not tolerant of sexual promiscuity, of greed and of other ways of the world, we are killjoys, prejudiced and thus an irrelevant bunch of people not worthy of attention.  There are a hundred and one ways of stereotyping a Christian today and most of us fear to be stereotyped.  We’d rather want to live our Christian life in a quiet and un-noticed manner.  Sometimes, we’d rather compromised and be silent or outwardly agree to those around us whose standard are not in accordance to what our relationship with Jesus asks of us.  We’d rather disappear than lose our reputation!  To us, Jesus is saying:  “This would give you an opportunity to testify.”  Jesus is not calling us to be critical, judgemental bible-bashing militants.  He is calling us to live out our faith and not just to live out, to speak of our faith.  He doesn’t want us to remain in the grey.  He wants us to make ourselves known to others:  “I am a Christian and this is where I stand.” Accept and make use of this opportunity to testify.

Jesus, Lord and Master, I ask forgiveness for the times when I was embarrassed because I bear the name “Christian.”  Make my heart firm and my faith strong because I want to grab this opportunity to testify.  Let others know that I bear your Name.  Amen.

What are the ways where your ways of thinking is indistinguishable than that of the world?  What is God speaking to you today about compromise?