A Privilege to suffer for Christ
Bradon: Hey Jon, we are both younger brothers! Would you say it was a privilege to suffer the torment from your older brother?
Jon: Nope, not at all.
Bradon: Coming up on the bible story podcast, we learn that it is a privilege to suffer for Christ!
Jon: That seems backwards. Is suffering a Privilege?
About the Story
Bradon: So, we need to give a bit of background for our story today because it is about counting it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
Jon: Yeah, It’s a big topic! Peter and John had healed a disabled man and then were arrested but then were released and warned by the religious leaders – threatened actually, not to teach about Jesus anymore.
Bradon: They go back to the other believers, and they prayed, and they resolved to continue to speak boldly about Christ.
Jon: They prayed that they would continue to be bold and that God would give more signs and miracles to the people.
Bradon: In Chapter 2 of the book of Acts, we learn that 3000 people had become believers in Christ. Then in Chapter 4, we see that their group had grown to 5000. Incredible things were happening.
Jon: Luke, the author of Acts, makes special mention of how all the believers shared their possessions and money and supported each other. They even sold land and brought the money to the group to help support one another.
Bradon: Last week, we heard a story that Ananias and Sapphira sold their property. They lied about giving the whole amount. It didn’t end well for them.
Jon: So that brings us up to today’s story, but before we begin, I have to remind us about the believer’s prayer after Peter and John were released from prison. They prayed, “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Jon: It’s hard to imagine leaving happy that you could suffer in that way for following Jesus. I mean, who rejoices about the pain they experience, particularly when it is by unjust treatment?
Bradon: The apostles did, and I agree it’s more than a little crazy to consider rejoicing about suffering for any reason, but think about this. The apostles abandoned Jesus after the religious leaders arrested him. John watched from a safe distance away, but he did nothing to stop it all, nor could he. Standing in front of the Religious Leaders was their moment; it was their chance to suffer as Christ did. For them, it was a second chance. It sounds crazy, and it is, but they felt worse about abandoning Christ than about the flogging they just received. They just proved to themselves and each other that they were willing to die like Christ so they and others could share the message about Christ.
Jon: I get it, and it’s no less crazy, but I want to be like the apostles. If I ever have to suffer for Christ, I want to be able to say, “It’s a privilege to suffer for Christ.”
Bradon: Not that we would wish for suffering, but I want that mindset.
Jon: I think we have to make a note that not all suffering is the same. Just like we pointed out early, our brothers picked on us for their enjoyment.
Bradon: we did the same thing to others,
Jon: All that kind of suffering is not the same in any way as the apostles but still is not that pleasant.
Bradon: nor were we suffering for Christ at the hands of our brothers.
Jon: ok, so the illustration is breaking down very quickly but hear me out. You might have to suffer other things as a result of sharing the story about Jesus. You might get teased at school, or you might lose a friend, or you might even get bullied, none of which are the same as flogging but are all suffering in a way.
Bradon: I see your point, but I think we need to answer this question why could they be happy to suffer for sharing the message about Jesus.
Jon: Because of their previous response to Jesus’ suffering and death and because they know all the incredible good that God was doing when people heard the good news about Jesus. People were getting healed and putting their faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. This knowledge was tremendous and made the suffering worth it!
Bradon: Well said, it is a privilege to suffer for Christ!