I get this wonderful devotional every week and was really touched by this one.. I just wanted to share it with you.
Sabbath Day Devotion
May 21, 2011
Suffering for Jesus –
One thing that Christians, and non-Christians alike, don’t like to think about or discuss is suffering. Some suffering may be inevitable – but it sure isn’t something we look forward to.
I was reading the 10th chapter of Matthew earlier this week. This chapter recounts the instructions Jesus gave his twelve disciples when he sent them out to do some preaching, teaching and healing. When I came to verse 22, I paused to consider what Jesus was saying and how it might apply to me and to other disciples of his in the 21st century.
Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of Me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Have you ever wondered how some of the very first disciples of Christ suffered and died as a result of their faith in Jesus Christ?
Matthew – Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. He died as a result of a sword wound.
Mark – Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
Luke – Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
John – Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos, where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation. The apostle John was later freed. He died as an old man – the only apostle to die peacefully.
Peter – Was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition, he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died. Therefore, they crucified him upside down.
James (the brother of Jesus) – Was the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, he was beat to death with a fuller's club.
James (the son of Zebedee) – Was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem.
Bartholomew – Also known as Nathaniel, was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death with a whip.
Andrew – Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it with these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
Thomas – Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church on the sub-continent.
Jude – Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias – The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
Paul – Was tortured and then beheaded by the Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters form a large portion of the New Testament.
I sometimes wonder if I am doing all that I should be doing for Jesus Christ. Perhaps… if I were more passionate and adamant about my faith, I would experience more suffering and persecution. Perhaps… I intentionally steer clear of situations that would bring about suffering and persecution. Perhaps… I am afraid to give Jesus my all.
Now if we are children (God’s children),
then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs
with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings
in order that we may also share in his glory.
Food for Thought…If you were arrested and charged for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? I’m afraid that many of today’s so-called “Christians” would never be convicted of being a Christian because there is very little evidence that they are a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Don’t just GO to church; BE the Church
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