For the follower of Christ, there is constant pressure to lay down our cross and to take the path of least resistance. The church at Corinth was dealing with this dilemma. Read 1 Corinthians 4:9-13 below:
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
The Corinthian church loved Jesus and wanted to follow Him, but they also wanted to be socially accepted, culturally accepted, and generally honored.
So the Apostle Paul challenged their desire to impress the world and be affirmed by the world by contrasting them with himself and the other apostles.
Church at Corinth vs. Apostles
Wise in Christ | Fools for Christ’s sake
Strong | Weak
Honorable | Despised
He goes on to say that he and the other apostles are:
- made a spectacle unto the world (spectacle = one who is set up in the theatre to be laughed at publicly)
- hungry, thirsty, naked, buffeted (beaten), without any certain dwellinplace
- laboring with their hands, reviled (insulted), persecuted, defamed
- made as the filth of the world (that which is thrown out)
- treated the offscouring of all things (that which is rubbed off and thrown away)
This picture of dishonorable, rejected, defamed, poor, hated, despised, and mistreated apostles is not very attractive to our flesh and our pride. We want to have Christ without the cross. We want to have discipleship without the discipline. We want to have the prize without the price.
But if we want to be disciples of Christ, we must be willing to pick up our cross, deny ourself, and come after Christ. We must be willing to die daily, to be laughed at by the world, to be considered a fool, to be despised, mistreated, defamed, cast out, and hated.
Here are a few questions to us consider:
- Do we want the easy road to discipleship?
- Do we desire the path of least resistance for Christ?
- Are we trying to be disciples but not pay the price?
- Do we reject the idea that we may be rejected?
- Is suffering for Christ an insult or an honour to us?
- Are you trying to join the ranks of other disciples without picking up our cross?