12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ (Galatians).
Part of the motivation of the Judaizers in Paul’s day was to keep themselves off the radar of Roman rule, which posed itself at best benevolent and at least ambivalent toward Judaism, yet increasingly antagonistic toward Christianity. Thus, it was safer to be identified with the acknowledged religion called Judaism through the rite of circumcision, than to be identified with this new religion whose devotees might pose a threat the Roman empire. “If we’re going to call ourselves Christians, for safety’s sake let’s at least make it look like just another branch of Judaism.”
Persecution is the great winnower, separating the devout from the debunked. For true faith will always face persecution rather than flee from it—and the church will grow from it. Indeed, it is just as Tertullian, one of the second century Church Fathers, said: “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Lord, help us This Day to face any persecution that comes our way. Amen.