Focal passage: 1 Peter 3:13-22
Some time ago I read the story of a Romanian pastor who had been captured and was being tortured in order to get him to tell where other Christians were meeting so they could be arrested as well. After much beating and other forms of torture, they could not get the pastor to break and disclose the location of the other Christians.
As a result, the authorities went and found the pastor’s 14-year-old son and brought him to the prison.
Then, in front of the pastor, they beat and tortured his son, in an effort to get the pastor to finally tell the whereabouts of the hiding Christians. After taking as much as he could, the pastor called out to his son and said, “I love you my son. I must tell them what they want to know.” It was then that the son called back, “No, father. They may kill me. But do not do me the disgrace of giving me a traitor for a father.”
When we hear such a story, we are prone to say this father and son have been “mistreated.” Peter, however, has a different response – “blessed” (v. 14).
Why? Because they are “suffering for righteousness sake.” They are identifying with the one – Jesus Christ – who, for their sakes, suffered for their salvation. They have identified with Christ through believer’s baptism. They are now further identifying with their Lord as they suffer for His sake.
We tend to flee from any kind of suffering – or even discomfort, for that matter.
What could possibly cause one to endure such suffering for the sake of Christ? It is the confidence we have in our sovereign, resurrected Lord who is seated victoriously at the right hand of the Father.
Therefore, when we face suffering because of our identification with Christ, we can do so with gentleness and confidence.
As that takes place, no doubt some around us will take notice. When they do, we must be ready – ready to give an answer when they ask about the living hope that they see in us.