By Open Doors 5 March 2024 4 MIN

Paying the Price, Counting the Cost This Easter

Have you ever wondered what Easter looks like for the persecuted church? It is a time of increased pressure and violence, as Christians become a target for extremists and government crackdowns. However, as they gather, they are strengthened. They count the cost to commemorate the price that Jesus paid. And just as He did, they persevere in the face of persecution. 

A price worth paying

For many Christians worldwide, Easter is a time of celebration. Lent ends, and believers gather for a time of prayer and communion. For the persecuted church, however, pressures rise, targeted attacks increase, and for some, it is illegal to even celebrate. 

Persecution has been part of the Christian experience since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry; it is guaranteed. The early Church scattered due to persecution and shared the gospel as they went, but the good news of Jesus is as true today as it was then. There is hope because Jesus is risen. 

Counting the Cost in Central Asia

An increase in targeted attacks is one of the most common forms of persecution during Easter Sunday celebrations amongst the persecuted church. During the Easter season of 2023, in Uzbekistan, a worship service was brutally invaded by local authorities. Ten men were arrested, and many other believers were left injured.  

Uzbekistan is number 25 on the World Watch List 2024. The treatment of Christians in Uzbekistan is exceptionally violent, and believers are severely restricted. They are seen as extremists by the government, which results in fines, arrests, and abuse. During Easter, churches must be more cautious. But this does not deter their faith. 

Pastors like Azamat continue to gather their community despite the risk. They count the cost. 

“Please, tell people who pray that we can feel their prayer. Sometimes, when I’m in difficulty, I think: ‘This is the end.’ But suddenly, I feel someone taking care of me. And I know that someone is praying for me.”

A Hope for the Future

This Easter, persecuted Christians will be reminded that there is hope. Through reflection on the Easter story, where Jesus suffered until death and rose again in victory, they will remember the promise of His resurrection. A promise of hope that gives them the strength to persevere and stand firm in their faith in the face of extreme suffering.  

We believe that no Christian should suffer alone. Just as Paster Azamat expressed, he could feel the prayers of supporters carrying him through. The global body of Christ can pray for and support their persecuted brothers and sisters.