Wednesday, Mar. 25
“. . . I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Gal. 6:17. I find it interesting that Paul does not say that he bears the marks of suffering for Christ (although he did suffer for Christ, and mentions it in other places). He endured more suffering than any of us. There are no complaints, no regrets. In fact, when he says “marks of Jesus,” he implies that the suffering was at the hands of Jesus Himself. It’s sort of a badge of honor. Most of the martyrs of the early church took that view. In connection with the above verse, Doug Burch mentioned a practice in Bible times of a slave owner piercing a slave’s ear when that slave volunteered to serve him the rest of his life—with the thought that Paul thought of himself that way. Paul was willing to suffer anything for the privilege of serving God. We in America rarely suffer physically because of our faith, although we may endure criticism, disdain, and rejection, a milder form of persecution. So we may not be able to show the marks of abuse on our bodies, but there may be unseen mental or psychological scars. In any case, when we endure persecution, we need to realize that God is behind it. He expects us to be good soldiers, life time servants. To our shame, much of the time, we choose to avoid the persecution. It’s easier to lay down our weapons and raise a white flag than to fight. Capitulating or going AWOL is not for Paul. I want to be a good soldier like Paul, but I will have to pay the price.