Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Suffering and Following Christ

I saw this phrase today on a magazine: "Suffering is a sure companion on every Christian's journey."

How true that is. Last week I was preparing for Sunday's sermon and was reading Paul's experience in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra in Acts 13 and 14.

Here's how it went down:

Antioch: Paul preaches the gospel. Jews stir crowd. Paul leaves Antioch. Paul continues to preach gospel.

Iconium: Paul preaches gospel. Jews stir crowd. Jews plot to stone Paul. Paul leaves Iconium. Paul continues to preach gospel.

Lystra: Paul preaches gospel. Jews from Antioch and Iconium follow Paul and stir crowd. Jews stone Paul. Paul lays 'dead' on the ground. Paul gets up. Paul leaves Lystra. Paul continues to preach gospel.

God never promised a cruisey ride. In fact, Jesus said "Anyone who wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me". The cross was considered to be one of the most powerful roman examples of execution. Paul's life is the example of a man who suffered greatly for the sake of the gospel. Who's willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ?