#DailyDevotion Will You Suffer All For The Name Of Jesus?
Act 20:18-24 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, (19) serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; (20) how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, (21) testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (22) And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, (23) except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. (24) But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
When Jesus converted St. Paul he told Ananias that he would show Paul how much he must suffer for his name’s sake. As we start getting close to the end of Acts we see in Paul’s life how much this promise is coming true. Yet St. Paul did not begrudge the Lord Jesus Christ these sufferings. He met the plot of the Jews against him with all humility and tears. He knew what he really deserved for his sins. The trials and tribulations of this life especially including the tribulations he experienced from both Jew and Gentile because of the Word of Christ he preached was well worth the coming glory he was expecting from Jesus at the resurrection.
Paul preached to both Jew and Greek repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Both Jew and Greek needed repentance towards God. That was the message of John’s baptism. The religion the Jews had made up over the centuries, glossing over the Law Moses had given them did not meet God’s standards and was not the religion he gave name. More than that, the Law he had given them was not sufficient for righteousness but was only a training ground to prepare them for the Messiah who was to come. All of them, Jew and Greek, needed to turn to God in faith, hating their sin and yes, even their good works, and seeking from God the righteousness that stands before him.
That righteousness which the Law of Moses cannot provide is given through faith in Jesus Christ. Only faith in the person, the work of and the name of Jesus of Nazareth prevails before the Father of Lights and is counted as righteousness. It is trusting that the Father laid our sins and iniquities upon the Son, Jesus, son of Mary, that is credited by God as righteousness, the type of righteousness Abraham had. Abraham was promised that through his seed all nations would be blessed. That seed was Jesus and God credited to Abraham righteousness. You too are called to believe as Abraham believed and become his children.
What is this faith worth? It is worth more than all the gold of the world which perishes. It is worth the suffering, pains and trials of life, particularly those born from holding on to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul counted his life as nothing in this world if he could but proclaim the grace of God found in our Lord Jesus Christ. We too then should look with disdain at any trial, tribulation, trouble, illness, pain and suffering, shame, guilt or anything else that tries to wrestle from us the grace of God found in Christ Jesus. For the grace of God is God’s gift to you. It is free. But it contains the most precious things in the world, God’s righteousness, life and glory won for you by Jesus.
Heavenly Father, may we with St. Paul be willing to suffer all, even death, that we may hold steadfast to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we may attain your grace ending in righteousness, life and glory everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.