a great day to consider the dangers of being a Christian.
“I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;” 2 Corinthians 11:26 NASB
In Paul’s time, simply trying to live a “normal,” “quiet,” “unobtrusive” life was fraught with danger. There was no highly trained police force or fire department; there was no “911” to call for help in an emergency; there were no hospitals and little in the way of real medical care. It is difficult to imagine living without all of the resources that are available to most of us today.
Add to all of those very real dangers, the danger posed by being a follower of Christ, and it is easy to believe that life for the Apostle Paul, and others like him, was very dangerous, indeed.
For many people, the matter of faith is a difficult one. It is extremely hard for many to believe that Jesus Christ did, in fact, walk this earth and was the Son of God, come to offer salvation to all, to die on the cross to atone for all of our sins, and to enable any person to approach God in prayer.
Those of us who believe without reservation have many different reasons for our belief, but examining the life, and the death of Paul – and the dangers he faced as a Christian – presents us with compelling reasons to believe.
Before changing his name to Paul, the name of the man who would become one of the strongest voices in the history of Christianity was Saul. Saul, as we all know was a staunch non-believer. In fact, he was an ardent persecutor of Christians.
After encountering Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul was directed to a home in Damascus to await a believer named Ananias, but Ananias had heard of Saul’s reputation and was leery of approaching him. “But the Lord said, ‘Go, for Saul is My chosen instrument to take My message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” (Acts 9:15-16 NLT).
And suffer he did. Paul was given 39 lashes 5 different times, beaten with rods, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked and spent a whole day and night adrift at sea.
And still, he believed. In spite of the dangers that being a Christian added to the numerous dangers of daily life in his time, Paul never stopped believing.
If this man, who once stood by as Christians were persecuted, could believe in spite of the dangers he faced, those of us who find it difficult should be able to believe because of the dangers Paul faced and the suffering he endured to teach others about Jesus Christ.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson