Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Acts…
5:3 They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
It’s such a counter-intuitive phrase isn’t it? “Worthy of Suffering Disgrace for the Name.” Everyone wants to be deemed worthy, respected, and honored—that’s probably at the core of all the “rights” movement, but very few want to suffer disgrace for it. It’s almost oxymoronic—worthy and suffering disgrace don’t seem to go hand in hand with each other. In fact, to some it’s a rather obscene phrase. It’s one thing to suffer for a cause or a people—but for a name? A single person?! Well, I guess that it depends on a few factors. First, how special this person is and second, how well we actually know this person.
This person is, in fact, Jesus Christ, the Son of God—God Himself. He gave up His honor and respect to become one of us—suffering disgrace for OUR names to become us on the cross. What’s amazing about what He did was that He actually didn’t have to do any of it. He’s God. He could have used His “cosmic eraser” and just do a do-over. But He didn’t—because He knew our names. In the Biblical times, to know one’s name is very different from knowing it today. Knowing one’s name doesn’t mean a whole lot today. Remembering it might mean a little, but beyond that, it’s just a name. In the Biblical times, it meant much, much more. To know someone’s name, it meant that you actually knew this person—intimately. To offer one’s name was an invitation to know that person at the deepest level. And that’s what it means when Jesus suffered disgrace for OUR name. He did it because He knows us intimately, though we may not know Him in that same way.
That’s what it takes to suffer disgrace for HIS name. We wouldn’t do such a thing—call it obscene to do so when we don’t really know for whom we are suffering disgrace for. Our hesitation or even unwillingness to represent Jesus reveals the reality that we actually know more about this world—our work places, schools, the playground, and everyone associated to them etc. than we know Jesus. We want to be deemed worthy by them—so we choose silence. The only way that we would “know His name,” is to be in the most intimate of relationships with Him. Otherwise, we would just know things about Him. And that wouldn’t be enough motivation for us to suffer disgrace for Him. Today’s text isn’t about suffering disgrace. It’s about knowing His Name. And if we do know Him intimately, I guarantee that we would see just how worthy He is of any kind of disgrace that we could suffer for His name. #desiringGod2017