“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under…” —Matthew 2:16
King Herod ruled over Judea with Roman approval for more than 30 years. Never truly accepted as king by the Jews, Herod was paranoid and prone to conspiracy theories. His successes were overshadowed by flailing grasps for fleeting power.
When Herod learned that a new king had been born for the Jews, he set a plan in motion to eliminate this new king and secure his control. He even oppressed his own people, allowing nothing to stand in the way of his reign. Unfortunately, history is riddled with stories of leaders who rule by way of fear and violence.
Around the world, followers of Jesus experience Herod-like obstacles in the form of coercive governments and restrictive laws that prevent them from worshiping freely. In fact, many of the world’s least-reached peoples live in places where religious and political restrictions deter Gospel access. Despite the risks, brave Christians are sharing the Good News with their least-reached neighbors, and underground churches are flourishing.
In challenging contexts, Frontier Fellowship’s global partners are helping the Church multiply and thrive. Pars Theological Centre (Pars) holistically cares for Persian-speaking Christians, providing opportunities to grow in faith, connect with Christian communities and heal from past trauma. In 2021, Pars’ Counselling Centre provided more than 1,100 hours of therapy to Iranian and Afghan followers of Jesus, many of whom experience loneliness, anxiety, depression or PTSD.
Right now, more than 360 million Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution and discrimination. To learn more about the places in the world where it’s most difficult to follow Jesus, visit opendoorsusa.org. Pray for the persecuted Church. Ask God to continue making a way for the Gospel to thrive, despite obstacles that might stand in the way.