Wednesday, August 14, 2019
“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16 KJV).
For whose sake?
People dedicate their whole lives to various and sundry causes—environmental protection, rehabilitating drug abusers and alcoholics, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, gun rights, minorities’ rights, women’s rights, veterans’ rights, patients’ rights, workers’ rights, students’ rights, and so on. While noble endeavors, ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, only one cause is of eternal worth. We find it in today’s Scripture.
There is tremendous suffering due to assorted factors—oppressive governments, poverty, famine, disease, stupid decisions, and so on. However, in light of eternity, only one type of suffering will count forever. We find it in today’s Scripture. Down through the centuries, God’s people have suffered for that very reason: they are strangers in a foreign land, subject to hostile forces (Satan and his policy of evil).
In Isaiah’s day, 700 B.C., “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (66:5). Christ in His earthly ministry warned His Little Flock of Jewish believers of the time even future from us, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9; cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17). “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:12). “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (John 15:21).
Revelation 2:3 speaks of faithful Israel, “for my name’s sake [thou] hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was no exception. He would work for and with Jesus Christ, and the world would hate him for it. Nevertheless, it was the cause worth dying for… and, eventually, he literally gave his life for it. Brethren, may we be equally faithful to Christ’s name’s sake!
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