I know Jesus said that to John and I have no standing to quarrel with or question either. Still, this is a difficult teaching. Who can understand it?
If the letter said something to the effect of “this is going to suck so grit your teeth and put up with it, I’ll reward you in the end” I would think that would be more palatable.
Resigning myself to read the text as it is I can’t admit to not being afraid of the idea of being thrown into prison. What is the phrase “Don’t be afraid” meant to communicate to the reader? Is it encouragement or is it a command? Could the reader still be faithful but yet be fearful of impending persecution? If I’m not afraid, what alternative feelings do I have left to feel about imminent persecution?
Obviously, I struggle with this letter.