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Overjoyed

Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13 CSB


From the text, with the phrase, “instead rejoice,” Peter introduces a contrast. Instead of looking negatively at their suffering, Christians need to look positively to Jesus and rejoice in their lot. Peter says, “Rejoice…you may also rejoice.” Peter does not deny the fact that sufferings can be sorrowful. But what he wants for believers is to look at their sufferings for Christ’s sake in the context of joy. He cites the reasons why they can rejoice even in times of difficulties. First, Peter says, “You share in the sufferings of Christ.” Christians can rejoice in times of sufferings for they are privileged to participate in Christ’s sufferings! The thought of suffering for Christ’s sake is prominent in Paul’s letters. In one instance while in prison, Paul’s says, “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death” (Philippians 3:10). The apostles are not saying that the sufferings of Christ are incomplete until Christians, too, have suffered. Christ’s atoning sacrifice is complete and our participation in His suffering has nothing to do with that sacrifice. However, Christ identifies with His people and when they suffer for His cause, He suffers. When they teach and preach the gospel, when they witness for Jesus, and when they encounter affliction for His sake, they participate in the sufferings of Christ. Then, because of their relationship to Christ, they can rejoice. “Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name” (Acts 5:41). Next, Peter says that Christians are not only capable of rejoicing in the midst of persecutions, but they can “rejoice with great joy.” Why are Christians overjoyed? Once again Peter directs our attention to the imminent coming of Jesus Christ. At the return of Christ, the believer will see the glory and splendor of the coming age in its fullness. Christ is the victor and all His followers share in His victory. Together they participate in Christ’s glory. “And if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). This is why when we contemplate the glory we shall inherit with Christ, we are unable to refrain from being overjoyed “when his glory is revealed.” Charles Wesley has given us a well-known hymn that captures the joy, adoration, and victory we experience when we think of Jesus’ return. Thus, we sing:


Rejoice, the Lord is King:

Your Lord and King adore;

Rejoice, give thanks and sing,

And triumph evermore:

Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,

Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.


Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

www.my-wbc.com

https://www.facebook.com/WestsideBaptistChurchSBC


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