What an amazing God and what amazing grace! He made a creature that He knew He would have to die to redeem from sin. He gave up all of His glory and chose to live among such lowly, filthy creatures. Creatures consumed by sin and fleshly lusts. He suffered persecution, bore our sins in His sinless body and endured beatings so that by His stripes we could be healed. He could have stopped there but He didn’t. He died a shameful death on a cross for our sins, was resurrected and lives in heaven interceding for us there at the right hand of God. He could have stopped there but He didn’t. He came back as a Spirit to abide inside of us so that we who chose to accept Him as our Savior would never be alone.
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Col. 1:27 NLT
19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. — 1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV
We have brothers and sisters throughout the world who “bear up under the pain of unjust suffering” everyday because of their commitment and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. If someone asked us to tell about our latest persecution brought on by our commitment to God, what would our answer be? Do we even understand what it really means to suffer for doing good and/or being faithful? Worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted group and yet, Christianity is still the fastest growing group. Even though, we are not yet being openly persecuted, Christians in the “free” world are being more and more marginalized everyday. Our time to be openly persecuted may be closer than we care to admit. We can name the names of our favorite pastors, members of our favorite sports team, but can we name the name of one persecuted Christian? Add persecuted Christian(s) to your list of people to pray for everyday. Pray that God will send His angels to strengthen them in their situations.
41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. — Luke 22:41-43 NIV