God’s Word for You
Luke 6:22-23 Your cross
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, January 10, 2018
22 Blessed are you whenever people hate you,
and whenever they exclude and insult you
and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.
To hate is a sin against the Fifth Commandment, and so is excluding someone for a wicked reason, and insulting them—although that’s also a sin against the Eighth. Bound up with these are many sins, abuse and rape and other things. When a Christian suffers these things, God promises special blessings. “Your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:23).
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy because of this: Your reward is great in heaven! The fact is, their fathers constantly did the same things to the prophets.
How can anyone bear up under hatred, insults, exclusion, and rejection? These are difficult, even terrible crosses to bear. But Jesus urges us to bear our crosses, to pick them up and follow along: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). No one can do that unless he has the assurance of the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. But the promise of the eternal rest and the glory of heaven strengthens us. It gives us the strength to glory in our troubles, to disregard our hardships and sufferings, to deny our flesh, and to humiliate our sinful urges and send them packing. When we are hated and mocked, we won’t complain or make a scene. We won’t worry about holding our heads high. Jesus doesn’t tell us to be proud. He tells us to turn the other cheek, to offer our shirt along with our coat, and to humble the thief by offering him more, if he needs it so badly that he has to steal.
These things are inexplicable to the world, but they open the door for the gospel. Yet if no one is so shocked that they ask about my faith, what does it matter to me, as long as God is glorified? A faith that is tested is a faith approved by God. If my life, or my death, could be compared with the life or death of Paul, Peter, Jeremiah, Isaiah, or John the Baptist, I would never want to be worshiped (Revelation 19:10), but I would be humbled if some other Christian could draw strength from my suffering. Those men and many others were persecuted because of their faith, and the time is coming when Christians will be persecuted once again—with scorn and imprisonment at first, but worse will come. Daniel foresaw more oncoming trouble for the church, which, he said would last “1290 days” (Daniel 12:11), but some believers would need to wait even longer (“1335 days,” Daniel 12:11). I don’t know if we can say exactly what these things mean, but they teach us to be patient and to pray for strength.
Bear up, Christian. Your reward in heaven is not based on what you have done, but on what Christ has done for you. Whatever cross you bear, you have a place with your Savior forever.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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