Focal Passage: Acts 3:1-10
John Piper once told a story at a Passion Conference about a man who became a believer in another country. This man was so excited he could hardly wait to get back to his village to tell the people what had occurred in his life. After walking numerous miles, he entered his village proclaiming the gospel to all the people. However, the reception was not what he expected. As he explained the gospel the people became angry and they began to beat the young man until he eventually blacked out. After they beat him, they dragged him outside the village and left him to die. Remarkably, a day or two later the young man woke up confused about the hostility. He thought perhaps he told the story wrong so he went back to the village to explain the gospel again. Only this time he was met with a more severe beating. After waking up outside the village for a second time, he could not understand why those in the village were treating him in this manner. Determined to share the hope he had in Christ, he went back into the village. As they beat him for the third time, he remembered seeing the women crying before he blacked out.
Something was different, however, when he woke up. He found himself under the care of the people in the village. During the course of the third beating the people came under conviction realizing that if this young man was willing to be beaten for the message of Jesus, then it must be extremely valuable. As he recovered from his wounds, he was able to share the gospel with the people in the village, and they gave their lives to Christ.
Many of us have experienced the wonderful hope found in Christ, but are we willing to suffer in order to share it with others? I believe a time is coming in America, and in some ways is already here, when the validation of our words will most likely involve suffering. Will you be ready?