Worthy to Suffer?

In Acts 5:17-40 the apostles are arrested (and re-arrested after a miraculous rescue), questioned (to put it mildly), threatened with death (v.33), and were then beaten before being released.

All for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

How did they respond to that treatment?  Did they run and hide?  Did they stop preaching the gospel (or at least tone it down)?  No.  Their response is one of the most amazing things that you will see in the Word of God:

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:41-42 ESV)

They did not just willingly endure it. (That would have been amazing enough!)  They did not just grit their teeth and bear it.  They rejoiced!

Why were they able to rejoice?

You want proof of God’s unshakeable love toward you in Jesus Christ?  Do you want evidence of God’s infinite mercy, forgiveness, and complete acceptance of you in Jesus? You won’t find it in comfort and ease. (Although that is often where we seek it.)

Strangely enough you will find it in the world’s rejection of you; the world rejects believers because it recognizes the family resemblance to Christ!

So what is the key to being willing to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus? What would it take to make us not only willing to suffer for the name of Christ, but to actually REJOICE over it & count it an honor? It takes the gospel.  It takes faith in the good news of God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ.

When we really understand the gospel, we will understand that God has perfectly, completely, and eternally forgiven all of our sins in Jesus Christ; we will understand that we are so radically accepted and loved by God all because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross, that nothing else matters but Jesus and the glory of His name.  Jesus suffered humiliation and shame for us.  He laid aside His glory that we might be saved (Philippians 2:1-11). He suffered dishonor for our sakes at the hands of sinful men that we might share in his glory (Romans 8:18-30).

It is an honor to suffer for the One who loves us like that!


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