Good morning everyone:
No one likes to be in pain. That’s why Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and countless other drugs are a multi-billion dollar business. But no matter how many pain-management options there are, no one ever has a pain-free life. One proof of sin are the aches and pains which come to everyone during this earthly journey. Anyone who promises a pain-free life will quickly be shown to be a liar.
The same is true of anyone who promises that the Christian life is pain-free. The claim goes: “Follow Jesus and you will have money, health, friends, and anything else you desire.” It sounds good. Who of us looks forward to pain? Yet it just isn’t true. All we have to do is look at Jesus. His life was anything but pain-free. Throughout His ministry He suffered the ridicule and rejection of many. But most of all, nothing can compare to the agony, both physical and spiritual, He endured on the cross for us. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The servant is not above his master, the Lord says. If He suffered, then those who follow Him can expect to suffer as well.
The Lord doesn’t tell us this to discourage us, but to prepare us for the reality of discipleship. He died that we might live for Him. We shouldn’t be surprised when others put us down for saying we believe in Jesus as the Savior from sin. It shouldn’t be a total shock if we are ignored or rejected by some for following the Lord’s will, rather than going along with what is accepted as good and normal by society.
Don’t let it discourage you or prevent you from living your faith. Peter writes: “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:13-14). Following Jesus, we can be sure of where we are, to whom we belong, and where we are going.
With Jesus as our Good Shepherd, it’s great to be a sheep!
The sermon text for tomorrow (1 Peter 2:18-25) is a reality check reminding us that suffering is an unavoidable part of the Christian life. It is also a strengthening encouragement to trust the Shepherd and follow Him to the glory of heaven where there will be no more pain or suffering of any kind.
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services tomorrow.