Suffering for the Lamb

Retaliation and violence are not appropriate reactions to hostility and persecution for the disciples of Jesus. Instead, they must meet threats and assaults with humility, mercy, and forgiveness. This is what it means to “deny yourself,” “take up his cross,” and follow him “wherever he leads.” Doing good to one’s “enemy” is contrary to the “wisdom of this age,” yet doing so is how we become “perfect as the Heavenly Father.”

“Carrying the cross” is a fitting image of enduring unjust suffering for his sake. When Roman authorities condemned a man to crucifixion, he was forced to carry the crossbeam on which he would be hung to the place of execution, just as Jesus did on his final walk to Golgotha. This would further humiliate the condemned man (“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the SHAME”).

Cross on Mountain - Photo by Theo Crazzolara on Unsplash
[Photo by Theo Crazzolara on Unsplash]

In stark contrast to the ways of this world, Jesus taught his followers to “
rejoice and leap for joy” whenever “men hate you, and reject you, and profane you, and treat your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” Disciples mistreated because of their commitment to Jesus are especially “blessed.” This is why we should “exult greatly” when persecuted since “great is our reward in Heaven” - (Matthew 5:10-12).

By enduring trials faithfully, we emulate Jesus. Just as his enemies abused him, so the enemies of the Cross mistreat individuals who dare to follow the teachings and example of the Nazarene.

Remaining faithful through persecutions and tribulations is how his Assembly overcomes the “Great Red Dragon,” Satan, and his earthly vassals. “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life even unto death.” This may be counterintuitive, but it also is scriptural – (Revelation 12:11).

After his Resurrection, his disciples took these instructions to heart. When Peter was hauled before the Sanhedrin and ordered to cease preaching, rather than surrender to anger and hatred, he went his way “rejoicing that he was counted worthy to suffer DISHONOR for the name.”

On another occasion, after being abused and imprisoned, Paul and Silas spent the night “praying and singing hymns to God” from their prison cell, and they did not curse their persecutors or call down God’s wrath on them - (Acts 5:41, 16:23-25).

Jesus provided the ultimate example of enduring unjust suffering. As Isaiah prophesied, the “Servant of the LORD” was “oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” He did not “wrangle or cry aloud, nor did anyone hear his voice in the streets. He did not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick.” Jesus the Nazarene was no violent or political revolutionary! - (Isaiah 53:7).


Jesus instructed us to “love our enemies and pray for them who persecute us.” He was the only truly righteous man who ever lived. If anyone deserved respect for his individual “rights,” he did. Yet rather than demand his entitled privileges, he came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This he did by suffering a horrific death for others. Not only so, but he chose to die for them when they were “yet enemies of God.” Conforming to this pattern is how we become “great” in his domain - (Matthew 20:28, Romans 5:10).

When an armed mob arrested Jesus, Peter drew his sword and “smote the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear.” However, Jesus did the unexpected. Rather than flee or join Peter in defending his “rights” or cursing his persecutors, he rebuked him, commanded him to sheathe his sword, and healed the wounded man who was part of the mob that had come to arrest him - (John 18:10-12).

Interrogated, beaten, and reviled before the High Priest, Jesus reviled not in return. While dying on the Cross, he prayed for his Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do” - (Matthew 27:39, Mark 15:32, Luke 23:34).

Opposition is something disciples should expect and endure faithfully, and with grace. To suffer for Jesus is a great honor, a matter of rejoicing rather than anger or despair. Today, through loud protests and legal machinations, we may avoid persecution; however, in doing so, we may also rob ourselves of something of infinitely greater value than a comfortable but temporary life.

We think as this world does when we insist that other men and governments must respect our inviolate civil “rights,” but this flies in the face of New Testament teachings on discipleship, mercy, and suffering for the sake of Jesus and others.

The man who would be his disciple must daily “take up his cross and follow” the same path that Jesus did. Failure to do so will make the individual unworthy of the “Kingdom of God.” To become "greatest" in His realm, the disciple must first become the “slave of all.” The Cross means denying yourself that which is yours by right, and enduring unjust suffering and undeserved persecution when called to do so.

In contrast to the political ideologies and systems of the present age, the Kingdom of God offers its citizens the far greater privilege of self-sacrificial service for others, and the very high honor of enduring insults, hatred, and even persecution because of Jesus. The rewards for doing so in the “age to come” will far outweigh any losses in this present life.

  • Tribulation of the Church - (In Revelation, faithful saints experience tribulation, whereas, the unrepentant undergo wrath)
  • Martyrs and Overcomers - (In the Book of Revelation, overcoming saints persevere in their testimony for Jesus whatever the cost, even a martyr’s death)
  • Stand Fast! - (Believers prepare for the Apostasy and the coming Man of Lawlessness by standing firm in the apostolic tradition)



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He Nullified Death