Today's Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-14
"If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." (1 Peter 4:14)
In the Name of + Jesus. Amen. Blessed are the beautiful. Blessed are the intelligent. Blessed are the rich and famous. But that' s not what St. Peter says, is it? Far from it.
Blessed are those who are insulted for the Name of Christ. Jesus said the same: "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." Christianity seems so upside down and backwards from the ways of the world. God' s blessings are found, not in power, wealth and glory, but in the midst of weakness, suffering and humility.
So, when my teachers mock me for believing that Jesus really died on the cross and rose again, I am blessed? Yes. When my friends ridicule me for going to bed a little early on Saturday to get ready for church on Sunday, I am blessed? Yes, now you' re catching on. And I' m blessed even in the midst of my suffering? Precisely. Now you' ve got it.
"Do not be surprised at the fiery trial." But be thankful that the fiery trial burned the hottest for Jesus. On Calvary, Jesus was baptized with fire and blood so that you would not have to endure the scorching heat of God' s wrath over sin.
Every drop of spit, every ounce of blood, every insult, blasphemy and mockery, He endured for you. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, He opens not His mouth. Christ' s cross is your greatest glory. Rejoice, for in the backwards, upside down ways of God, you are saved.
Christ counts you worthy to suffer for His Name. You are found faithful when you are insulted for confessing that Name. It doesn' t mean you go looking for a fight; but when a war of words comes your way, know that the battle has already been won on the cross. In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.
A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing And, laden with the sins of earth, None else the burden sharing; Goes patient on, grows weak and faint, To slaughter led with out complaint, That spotless life to offer, He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies, The mockery, and yet replies, "All this I gladly suffer." (LSB 438:1)
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