Summary: We need to stop and remember that our forefathers suffered much for thier faith in Christ, yet they bore the affliction with grace and dignity and through their trials, they made it through to Glory Land. The record they left teaches us much.
SUFFERING SAINTS SHALL SURELY SURVIVE
I. SUFFERINGS: Hebrews 10:32-34
II. SELFLESSNESS: Hebrews 10:34-37
III. SUMMATION: Hebrews 10:38-39
The writer to the Hebrews continues his comparisons between the Old Law and the Better Way. He has written on various parts of the Old Covenant showing how that the former way of serving and worshiping God have passed and a new day has dawned with the Advent of Jesus.
Now, he draws the reader’s attention to something that was very familiar with his readers then and to a degree is familiar with millions of Christians around the world in our day-suffering for the sake of Jesus. In this chapter he has little to say about the former way of worshipping God; instead, he brings everything into perspective by reminding his readers of what many of them knew all to well-persecution for the name of Christ.
I think it is necessary for every Christian in the Free World to stop and think about this simple truth from time to time. We who live in so much freedom must remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not as fortunate as we are and who suffer such terrible persecution for the name and the sake of our Lord and Saviour.
Yet, the writer to the Hebrews does not dwell on the bad, but instead turns the terrible plight that many of them suffered for Christ into something that is indeed positive and noble. Along the way, he reminds his readers that this same One for whom they have suffered so much is well aware of their plight and He has not forgotten them in their hour of need. Far from that sad predicament, He reminds his readers that Jesus is well aware of what they have suffered for Him and that He will make it all up to them in the future by preparing something that is far better than what this world has to offer. Indeed, what they have suffered and what they have lost pales in comparison to that which He will give to them in His time.
As I study these verses of Scripture, I see three things regarding these dear people and he reminds them that Suffering Saints Shall Surely Survive. He does this in three parts. The first part deals with the SUFFERINGS that the saints endured for Jesus. The next part has to do with their SELFLESSNESS. Then, I note the SOLILOQUY he delivers on their behalf.
I. SUFFERINGS: Oh the price some people pay for their allegiance to our Lord. The writer to the Hebrews reviews a bit of history for them-something that they already knew-that to become a Christian in that day meant more than just giving one’s acceptance to the Lord. It meant more than simply bowing the head and asking Christ into one’s heart. In the days of this writing, to accept Jesus meant much, much more. It often meant severe suffering, losing one’s family/friends, and often, it mean death for the new convert. This prompted the writer to remind these new Christians that by exchanging the old Covenant for the new, it meant a great deal of pain and anguish. Yet, his purpose was not to dwell on this, but to point to what lay ahead for those that suffered so much for Christ.
The first part of their SUFFERINGS had to do with the sufferings of the body, the flesh, the Severity of that suffering. These early saints were beaten, stoned, thrown to wild beasts in amphitheaters, plus a whole lot more.
History has recorded that some of the Christians were beheaded; others were made to run through a gauntlet of whips and then given to wild beasts. Rome boasted of and displayed severed heads and limbs of martyred Christians. Other saints were held in stocks and chains; some were whipped; some were starved and all suffered for claiming the name of Jesus.
In verse 32, the writer reminded his readers to think back on the time they accepted Jesus as their Saviour and then remember the Severity of their persecution for becoming believers in Him. He also reminded his readers that even though they suffered great tribulations in their faith, others suffered taunts and disgraceful snide remarks from some as they passed wicked people in the market places and in their daily living. Others had their possessions confiscated and many were turned out of houses and homes just for their belief in Jesus.
Yet, even though they suffered beyond endurance, the writer reminded his readers that through their common element of suffering severely, the very pain they endured did something that nothing else could ever do-it made them to become closer to God and to one another. He reminded them that even though the persecution was severe, yet they banned together and began to help one another. This togetherness brought about a great coming together, a Solidifying of the saints that drew them closer together rather than tearing them apart. In their commonality, they were able to grow together as a body of believers everywhere the gospel story was told and accepted. Persecution always does that. It does not disperse the Body of Christ, it brings it together in a way that nothing else ever can.