It is an undisputed fact that the early followers of Jesus – who were mostly Jewish – came under fiery persecution, often from their own people.
Jesus himself was crucified and many of his disciples suffered similar fates, though more generally at the hands of the Romans.
However, the great apostle Paul was a leading Jewish rabbi who saw it as his duty to persecute the new movement, presiding over the stoning of St Stephen in the process…until his dramatic encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus.
In some respects, things have come full circle since then. Jewish people are once more recognising Jesus as Messiah in significant numbers, and many are experiencing discrimination from their fellow Jews, especially in Israel. (It must be said, however, that this does not usually amount to the sort of vicious persecution Christians are currently suffering in the Muslim Middle East.)
Among them is Zev Sigulim (pictured), from Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, who has witnessed seven years of harassment from Orthodox Jews and been forced to fly to Cyprus to get married because traditional rabbis refuse to recognise Messianic Jews! Some even refused to circumcise his sons.