The signs that can be seen in the life of a true apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ include “patience” and “perseverance” as we have seen in this series so far. Today, let’s look at another sign of an apostle – ” The grace to suffer for His Name’s sake and for the Kingdom”
The nature of the apostolic ministry requires the grace to suffer because the apostle is the individual who paves the way for others. He is the pioneer and the trailblazer. Because of the revelation he receives, the apostle is the first to go forward, and this fuels the enemy’s anger against him; hence the reason why Jesus declared the following: “Therefore the wisdom of Gof also said, ‘I will send them apostles and prophets, and some of them they will kill and persecute.'” Luke 11:49
When The Lord called Paul to be an apostle, He spoke about the suffering he would have to endure for His Name sake. “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.” Acts 9:16 The word came to pass in the life of Paul. As a matter of fact, years later, we read a list of some of the afflictions he had to endure when the believers in Corinth rejected him as one called to be an apostle.
“Are they Christ’s servants? I sound like a madman—but I am a better servant than they are! I have worked much harder, I have been in prison more times, I have been whipped much more, and I have been near death more often. Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water. In my many travels I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from my own people and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends. There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27 GNT)
However, as bad as these afflictions were, they were not the worse to endure. If you continue to read, we find that the betrayal and abandonment of his spiritual children and some of the members of his apostolic team was the hardest and most painful to endure. in 2 Timothy 4:16 he writes, “At my first defence no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.”
The apostle who wrote 14 books of the New Testament was alone – everyone abandoned him. Who would ever imagine such a thing could be possible? In 2 timothy 4:9-10 he states, “Do your best to come to me soon. Demas fell in love with this present world and has deserted me, going off to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.” Demas was one of Paul’s disciples who betrayed and abandoned him when he disagreed with paul; this caused great pain in Paul who was only able to overcome by the grace given to him by God.