1 Peter 4:14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
We’ve been looking at the Biblical definitions for the Greek word for “name”, “onoma”, used in the verses and scripture passages in the Bible. Today we will look at the last one, which is “owing to the fact that one is called by Christ’s “Name” or is identified with Him”.
In the above mentioned verse we see that when a person is reproached or insulted or reviled for the “name” of Christ, which is “owing to the fact that one is called by Christ’s “Name” or identified with Him”, that God sees the person who is doing the reproaching as if they were blaspheming Him. What does it mean to blaspheme Christ? The King James Version says that “on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified”.
To blaspheme – Greek word – blasphemeo – means to rail or revile; to speak contemptuously of God or of sacred things; to be slanderously reported; to be evil spoken of or defamed.
So what the Word is saying here is that when a person is known as being called by Christ’s name, or is identified with Him, in other words a Christian, and is reproached or insulted when standing for Christ, the Lord takes that as speaking contemptuously of Him or speaking evil or defaming Him. Then He sees the one standing for Him or known as a Christ-follower as glorifying Him through that insult. He takes the reproach of one who is known as a Christian personally as if it were being done directly to Him.
Jesus said one of the signs that we are in the last days before His return is that those who are standing for Him will be hated by all nations for His name’s sake.
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
We see that happening more and more in our current day to day setting. Missionaries all over the world are being persecuted and even killed for their faith in Christ Jesus.
Mark 13:13 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
What does it mean to “endure to the end”? That word for “endures” in the Greek is the word “hupomeno” and it means to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance.
The picture that we get when we see this Biblical definition of “endures” is not a person that runs from adversity or persecution, but one that boldly stands and resists whatever is thrown at them. It is the picture of a person continuing to stand strong, not drawing back in fear or caving in under the stress of adversity. It takes a lot of courage to “endure” to the end.
I recently received an email from a friend describing how some of the disciples died after “enduring” to the end. I have not personally checked these for accuracy but do feel that it probably is as it is stated as I know that they did die a martyr’s death.
Matthew – Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.
Mark – Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
Luke – Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
John – Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
Peter – He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
James – The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
James the Great – Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
Bartholomew – Also known as Nathaniel, was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
Andrew – Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
Thomas – Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.
Jude – Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias – The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
Paul – Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Does this mean that we will all die a martyr’s death for our faith? No, but it does mean that there is some level of persecution in the lives of those who stand for the Name of Jesus, as by Biblical definition, “which is owing to the fact that one is called by Christ’s “Name” or identified with Him”. It may be as minor as being made fun of at work or school, or being singled out as a Jesus fanatic, or it may be as serious as some of the missionaries that are in third world countries are experiencing where they are being beaten and even killed for their faith. This is a serious matter to God. He sees it as if the persecutors are persecuting Him. Jesus forewarned His disciples that they would go through persecution in their service to Him.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
But He also said this in Matthew 19:29:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”
God is the record keeper and He is keeping score. He knows every hair that is on our heads and He is watching over His own. He who endures to the end will be saved.
Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.”
Reward – Greek word misthos – means pay, wages, salary, recompense for service.
Jesus is returning soon and His reward for those who have served Him is great. Those who have stood in the face of persecution, I believe, will have a greater reward because of all they have suffered for Him. May He be glorified in His body, the Church!
Father, I thank You for all that You have given us in the Name of Jesus! There is power and authority in the Name of Jesus! There is life through the confession of His Name and the reward that You have for those who serve You is great! Thank You, Father, for all that You have provided to Your children who are called by Your Name. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for willingly laying down Your life, for being persecuted and crucified for our salvation. We know that Your sacrifice was great and we are thankful that You have come to save us! Praise Your Name forevermore! Father, I pray for those who are serving You under persecution today. I life them up to You and ask that You would strengthen them, comfort them, give them courage and that You would bring there persecution to an end. For those who are on foreign soil, Father, may their persecutors stop the torment and outrage against them. Father, I ask that You would give Your angels charge over them to guard them and keep them in all their ways. I ask that Your angelic hosts would lift them up and carry them above the pain and suffering that they are experiencing! And most of all, Father, I ask that you would deliver them from their persecutors. I thank You, now for hearing and answering this prayer offered up to You in the precious name of Jesus! Amen.