“But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name.” (1 Peter 4:16)
The name “Christians” was originally used by heathens to ridicule those who were Christ followers. The word “Christian” literally means, follower of Christ. So, then, the Christian religion was not about learning and following a series of doctrines, but about following Christ, the Messiah, in words and deeds. When a person was called a Christian it was because they spoke and acted like Jesus. The heathens had no idea that what was meant to offend, became a badge of honor.
Today, it appears as if many of us who call ourselves Christinas in private and around other Christians, prefer not to known as Christians in public because they fear ridicule and persecution by present day heathens. There seems to be shame associated with being a Christian. We willfully and intentionally try to hide the fact that we are Christ followers from everyone who is not a Christian to the point that we blend in with the heathen.
But in today’s verse, God, through the Apostle Peter, teaches us a great lesson. He teaches us that if we suffer ridicule, or persecution, for being Christians, we should not be ashamed, but be proud and glorify God because we bear the name of Christ. We should rejoice in the fact that we are deemed worthy to be “dishonored” and suffer on behalf of Christ’s name:
“Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name.” (Acts 5:41 HCSB).”
Jesus taught us Who the only Person is we should fear and why we should fear Him:
“And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear! (Luke 12:4-5).”
So, then, are you ashamed to be known as a Christian? Do you fear ridicule, persecution, and/or death at the hands of heathens? Or are you proud to bear the name of Christ? If you are ashamed, then you don’t know Him. If you want to know Him, let me know in a comment below.
In Christ’s love,