THE SERVANT GENERAL
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
THE GOSPEL OF THE CROSS
Today’s reading: Acts 14:19-28
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to
enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22b). Hardship, suffering
and pain are the lot of the authentic missionary. Many times
affliction comes from those closest to us, those who are our
co-workers, those who extol us. Paul and Barnabas had just
been looked on as gods, when “some Jews from Antioch
and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul
and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.”
(v.19). Yesterday the crowds were offering sacrifice to him
as a god; today the crowds are stoning him. But that is also
what happened to Jesus. Last week the crowds were shouting
“Hosanna;” this week they are shouting “Crucify
it was the lot of Jesus. It was the lot of Paul. Why would
we not be given the same privilege? Or why will we try to
escape what is the will of God for His beloved and faithful
servants? In fact, Paul and Barnabas spoke of hardships
not to discourage people, but to encourage them!
“They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and
exhorted them to persevere in the faith” (v.22a).
is salvific. People try to escape the cross, looking for comfort
and convenience in life. But Jesus tells us to embrace our
cross. Daily. If we are to be his disciples.
the early disciples understood the importance of suffering,
they plodded on, no matter what. Stoned and left for dead
in Lystra, Paul continued on, as “he left with Barnabas
for Derbe.” (v.20c). Then “they returned to Lystra
and to Iconium and to Antioch.” (v.21b). Then on to
Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia and Antioch (v.24-26a).
Whew. They could only do all that after being honed through
suffering and pain. And God used them mightily, as they “made
a considerable number of disciples” (v.21b).
authentic gospel is the gospel of the cross. If we are to
follow our Lord and Master Jesus, he leads us all the way
to the cross. Embrace it with joy.