We’ve all heard about the tragedy of Otto Wambier the University of Virgnia student who died as a result of being imprisoned in North Korea for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster. But the arrest of Kim Hak Songsog and fellow U.S. citizen, Kim Sang Duk, didn’t the same publicity. Both Kims teach in the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Close to the time of the arrests, the North Korean state media reported that the CIA was conducting an elaborate assassination plot against Kim Jong Un. The two American professors got caught in the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, but this mistaken assassination assumption is not new.
When the Roman tribune rushed down with his troops from the Antonio Fortress to quell the escalating mob violence against the Apostle Paul, his first assumption was that Paul was an Egyptian terrorist, the leader of a group called The Assassins.
“As Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the tribune, ‘Am I permitted to say something to you?’ And he said, ‘Do you speak Greek? Aren’t you the Egyptian who rose up in revolt by leading the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?’
Paul responded, ‘I’m a Jew from Tarsus of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city. I beg you to allow me to speak to the people.’ And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. There was a great hush and Paul began to address them in the dialect used by the Hebrews, saying...” Acts 21:37-40
Let’s pray for brothers and sisters in North Korea who are seeking to live out the love of Christ using not the power of politics and military might but the demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit and Jesus’ compassion for the poor and the weak.
LORD, even in North Korea you have opened doors for believers to help demonstrate that true Christianity is not a culture or religious organization, but a relationship with the resurrected Christ. With the escalating tensions please keep this window of grace open for the people of North Korea. And thanks that even a false accusation led to the Roman government paying for Paul’s travel to Rome and the quiet in prison to write his letters so powerfully used in our lives today.
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