Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Pain Point

Pain Point
2 Corinthians 11:24 "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one."
July 15, 2020

The Apostle Paul was an impressive individual, devout in his service to the Lord, and at great expense. Recall that before he came to know Jesus as Lord, that he persecuted the Christians, even participating in the killing of them. He oversaw the stoning of Stephen (with Stephen forgiving Paul while he was being stoned). Paul could have been considered an extremist in his service to the Lord. If anyone wants to claim they are dedicated in service the Lord, I challenge them to analog their life with Paul's life. When Paul became a servant of Christ, he carried over his same enthusiasm, not willing to be deterred by any obstacle.

Paul was bragging about the obstacles he overcame in his dedication to the Lord, trying to demonstrate or prove the depth of his service. He said five times he had received 39 lashes. This means he was whipped, on his bare backside, 39 times, on five separate occasions. In Deuteronomy, 39 lashes was the maximum penalty, falling just shy of a death sentence, allowable by Jewish law. Somehow it was determined that 40 lashes would kill a human, but 39 was survivable. Some argue that Jesus received the 39 lashes before He was crucified, but Jesus was scourged by the Romans, not necessarily in accordance with Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, Paul got whipped just to the point of being on the brink of death, a tortuous ordeal. These beatings were given in direct response to him preaching the good news of Jesus as Lord, considered heresy by the Jews.

The Jews were so angry in hearing the name of Jesus as Lord, that they sentenced Paul to 39 lashes and Paul took it. Not only did Paul take it, but it did not deter him. Think of the worst obstacle you have ever had in your and what it took to overcome that, and it likely does not compare to the first beating Paul endured, and yet he was still willing to preach the good news. Today, many are considered as delicate as a snowflake, at the first sign of an obstacle. I'm sure that if I had received the first 39 lashes, that I might be hesitant again to preach the name of Jesus in the streets. I'd consider an underground church, for sure, just to avoid preaching in the streets, remembering the beating. Paul was not deterred from the first set of 39 lashes and continued to preach in public. Paul was not deterred from the second set of 39 lashes, being brought to the brink of death again, and continued to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul was not deterred a third or fourth or fifth time, being brought to the brink of death, his backside so scarred his flesh was not likely recognizable. Paul continued to share the good news of Jesus as Lord. Clearly the Jews' beatings of Paul were not enough to deter him from serving the Lord.  The Jews never found Paul's pain point.

You and I may not have that same point. Some of you have been emotionally hurt, even by other Christians, that you are deterred in your dedication to the Lord. Maybe your pain points have not pushed you to the brink of denouncing the Lord but maybe you are not quite as zealous as you once were, or outspoken in your dedication to the Lord. Many of us have a tipping point, some lighter than others, that would deter us from serving the Lord. I'm not sure how I would recover from five sets of 39 lashes. I'm not sure my zeal would still be as strong as before the first one. Maybe you've not received 39 lashes but you've been harmed, Satan using that to deter you from serving the Lord to your fullest degree. Its time to revive your vigor in service to the Lord; I doubt you've received 39 lashes no matter how severe the persecution.  Are you willing to truly die for Him? Prove it by living for Him. What's your pain point? 

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Deut 25:3, John 19:1, 2 Cor 11:16-33