THE STORY OF JESUS: Acts 9:10-19a
“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:16)
When I first heard these words, they sounded like a threat.
As if Jesus is saying that Paul deserves (must) suffer for his crimes.
But it is not FOR His crimes that he must suffer, for “FOR my Name”!
As followers of Jesus, we are going against the grain of the world.
In a world of hate, anger and war, we represent love, joy and peace.
We trust in Jesus and in the Jesus Way, and this challenges others.
We must suffer for Jesus’s Name, if we take that Name seriously.
For Ananias to baptize (grace) his enemy is evidence of this radical love.
Am I prepared to love my enemies or bless those who curse me for Jesus?
Suffering is never pleasant, but we do it for those we love all the time.
Jesus has expanded our list of those we love – Him and all people.
For His sake, and for the sake of all sinners, I must love (and suffer).
We should not seek suffering, but neither should we avoid it.
Rather we seek first the kingdom, come what may, with our eyes set on Jesus!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, help me to keep my focus on loving You and loving like You. I don’t want to suffer, but I do want others to experience Your grace… and those often go together