Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 12:3
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:3
This can be a very difficult verse to accept. What the writer of Hebrews is saying is we should be as Christ in our strength and fortitude regarding the hostility and suffering we experience. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2. Jesus freely came here to suffer death for us, knowing through His own death we could be counted righteous and able to enter into the kingdom of God. And this was a great joy to Him. In fact, we would be joint heirs with Him. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17. As Jesus suffered, we must also be willing to suffer for in so doing we will be glorified with Him. We should look at these trials as a precursor to great joy promised to us by Him, just as He, in joy, sacrificed Himself for us.
The Apostle Peter had a few things to say about this. “Servants be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it; this finds favor with God.” 1 Peter 2:18-20. We are to be kind to all, no matter what anyone does to us. If we are treated harshly, we are to endure it with patience. This is what we see in how Jesus dealt with unjust suffering. He could have saved himself but chose not to. “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?’” Matthew 26:52-54.
We are called to follow this example. Paul again says here, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2. We are to be like Him, walking in love to the point that we would sacrifice our very life as well. This seems impossible; however, our focus verse shows us the way. We need to look to Jesus; see how He endured even more than we have or ever will. How He was treated even more harshly for no cause then we ever will. We must, through the Holy Spirit, suffer for the cause of Christ. We are not to compromise but be steadfast under every circumstance. And when we begin to faint and lose heart, go to God. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
We are not alone. God will be with us, helping us to follow the ways of Jesus, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart when persecuted. This is a great promise that we must grasp with all we have. And the harder the persecution, the more we can count on Him. What a great and loving God we serve.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.