If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:14-16
Praise God in Persecution
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, told his disciples to imitate him. To imitate his love. “Love one another just as I have loved you. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
As we share and show the love of Jesus, people will take notice. But not everyone will appreciate it. Some will make you suffer violence for it. Others will attack you verbally. Your attackers want you to feel ashamed for being a Christian. But you are not doing something wrong or dishonorable.
There is no shame in bearing the name of Jesus. How can we be ashamed to carry the same banner we so proudly stand behind? Jesus said that when we suffer in his name, it is a sign that we belong to him.
That’s the good news. Christ has had compassion on us. He came from heaven to earth to suffer and die for us. He was misunderstood by his parents and mocked by his siblings. His body was mangled by his enemies and mounted to a cross. Our sin is paid for. And now he lives as proof that our guilt is pardoned.
Praise God when you are persecuted. Persecution is a badge of honor! Persecution is proof that you belong to God and are chosen and loved by him. You are set apart from the world. Now you suffer at the hands of the world, but you are set apart for glory.
First the cross. Then the crown.
Triune God, how great is your love that I should belong to you. Even in persecution, I will yet praise you. For in you, I put my hope. Amen.