FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
=======================
To this you were called, because Christ
suffered for you, leaving you an
example, that you should follow in his
steps. I Peter 2:21

In the old Museum of Atheism and Religion in
Leningrad (now St. Petersburg)
during the cold war era, visitors upon entry were first subjected to a major
display of pro-evolution propaganda. Then
came the world religions section
dominated by displays of the sordid history
of Christianity such as the
Inquisition and the Crusades.

Towering
over that display area was a huge crucifix. The museum guides would
explain
it this way: “Christians love to suffer. Ever since their leader,
Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross like this, they have had a persecution
complex!”

While we are definitely not called upon to have
a persecution complex, we as
Christians are repeatedly reminded in scripture
that our lot is indeed to
follow in the footsteps of our Lord and
Master.

When Jesus gave His last major teaching session to his disciples,
he included
a serious prediction about the reactions of the world. In what we now call the
Upper Room Discourse (John 15-17), Jesus told his closest
followers—probably
as they were walking along (see John 14:31b)—that they
were to remain [abide]
in Him as a branch in the vineyard is connected to the
main stalk.

He then reiterated his command that they were to love each
other as He had
loved them and was willing to lay down His life for them—the
highest form of
love. Little did they understand that prediction. Yet it
would be fulfilled
the very next day.

Then he contrasts that love of
the brethren with the reaction of hatred from
the world: “If the world hates
you, keep in mind that it hated me first…for
they do not know the one who
sent me” (John 15: 18-21). A little further down
in the discourse, He says,
“…in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills
you will think he is
offering a service to God” (John 16:2b).

Jesus was indicating that as He
suffered, so would His disciples. Every human
being endures some suffering in
his lifetime. It may be the physical suffering
of sickness or injury. It may
be the inner suffering caused by the death of a
loved one, rejection by
friends, or simply loneliness. Whatever the cause may
be, we all seek to
avoid it as much as possible. The scriptures make it very
plain that
Christians are subject to all the causes of suffering common to
men, plus the
added persecution that comes with taking a clear stand
for
Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will walk in the suffering footsteps of
Jesus, my Lord and
Saviour; no complaints.

PRAYER: Lord, give me grace
to accept the responses of the world as Jesus did.
As I abide in You, may I
also show Your love to everyone.

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