They ridicule, scoff, mock and minimize His mighty work. When that happens, we are fortunate. Nothing like some abuse heaped on us because of Him.
God has a goal for us. It may require that to bring glory to God we must suffer. Others may mock us because of what God is doing. We should consider ourselves fortunate.
God is in a good mood and he won’t lead us in a direction that he won’t give us strength to endure. The Spirit of the living God is in us and on us. The Spirit that raised our Master from the grave is upon us.
If you’re abused because of the Messiah, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. 1 Peter 4:14
He is the Spirit of glory and He has a special ministry to those who suffer for the glory of Jesus the Messiah. This verse can be translated “for the presence of the glory, even the Spirit, rests on you.” The reference is to the Shekinah glory of God that dwelt in the tabernacle and in the temple. When the people stoned Stephen, he saw Jesus in heaven and experienced God’s glory. This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” that Peter wrote about in 1 Peter 1:7–8.
Suffering Christians do not have to wait for heaven in order to experience His glory. Through the Holy Spirit, they can have the glory now. This explains how martyrs could sing praises to God while bound in the midst of blazing fires. It also explains how persecuted Christians (and there are many in today’s world) can go to prison and to death without complaining or resisting their captors.
Our suffering enables us to glorify His name. We suffer because of His name. You can tell your unsaved friends that you are Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, or even an agnostic, and there will be no opposition; but tell them you are a follower of Jesus—bring the Messiah’s name into the conversation—and things will start to happen. Our authority is in the name of Jesus, and Satan hates that name. Every time we are reproached for the name of Jesus, we have the opportunity to bring glory to that name. The world may speak against His name, but we will so speak and live that His name will be honored and God will be pleased.
The word “Christian” is found only three times in the entire New Testament (1 Peter 4:16; Acts 11:26; 26:28). The name was originally given by the enemies of the church as a term of reproach; but in time, it became an honored name. Of course, in today’s world, the word “Christian” means to most people the opposite of “pagan.” But the word carries the idea of “a Christ one, belonging to Christ.” Certainly it is a privilege to bear the name and to suffer for His name’s sake.
Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna about the middle of the second century. He was arrested for his faith and threatened with death if he did not recant. “Eighty and six years have I served Him,” the saintly Bishop replied, “and He never did me any injury. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”
“I have respect for your age,” said the Roman officer. “Simply say, ‘Away with the atheists!’ and be set free.” By “the atheists” he meant the Christians who would not acknowledge that Caesar was “lord.”
The old man pointed to the crowd of Roman pagans surrounding him, and cried, “Away with the atheists!” He was burned at the stake and in his martyrdom brought glory to the name of Jesus the Messiah.