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 Vol. 4, No. 12 

December, 2002

Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*

~ Page 16 ~

Happily Convicted

By Rebecca Rushmore

Image Have you ever thought about the fact that there have been people in this world that were happy to be thrown in jail or executed? I am not talking about civil rights activists or other protesters in recent generations throughout the world. I am talking about several individuals and groups of individuals whose "convictions" and "sentences" are recorded on the pages of inspiration.

Think first of a young man named Joseph. His story begins in Genesis Chapter 30. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery. After his Egyptian master's wife falsely accused him of attempted rape, Joseph was thrown in pharaoh's prison (Genesis 37:28-36; 39:1-23). Joseph not only did not attempt to rape his master's wife, when she tried to seduce him, Joseph told her he could not dishonor God and fled the scene. Not once is it recorded that Joseph complained about his prison sentence. In fact, the Bible records that God was pleased with Joseph and blessed him.

Consider also three Hebrew young men during the time of the Babylonian captivity. When King Nebuchadnezzar decreed that everyone must worship a large golden image at the sound of the music, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego chose to obey God and refused to worship the idol. For their disobedience to the king, these men were thrown into a fiery furnace where God honored their faithfulness by saving their lives (Daniel 3). Later, another king decreed it was illegal to pray to anyone but him. Daniel, another captive Hebrew, remained faithful to God in his daily prayers. The king sentenced him to the lion's den where God again rewarded the faithful by saving Daniel's life (Daniel 6).

In the New Testament, we read of a man named Stephen. He suffered death by stoning for preaching about Jesus (Acts 6:9-15). Peter and John were thrown in prison for the same thing as recorded in Acts 3 and 4. Matthew 14:1-11 records the sentence of John the Baptist for preaching the truth about Herod's adulterous marriage; he was beheaded.

Another occasion for punishment is recorded in Acts 16:16-25. Here, Paul and Silas, missionaries for God, performed miracles and taught about Jesus. Some unhappy listeners had the pair beaten and imprisoned. At midnight, these two were heard singing praises to God. Before the night was through, their jailor was a new Christian. Second Corinthians 11:24-28 lists other "sentences" of Paul for teaching about Christ.

Why were these people willing and some recorded as happy to be convicted of "crimes?" They were all convicted for faith in the One who suffered the ultimate sentence: denial of the glory of heaven for this frail world, rejection by family and friends, cruel suffering in death on the cross of Calvary -- all for crimes he did not commit. These happily convicted people knew their earthly sentences would be replaced by a heavenly reward. Each of the ones convicted could not deny he was guilty of obedience and faithfulness to God. The actions of each were public, well known and spoke louder than any verbal denials he might offer if he wished to try (which none did). If tomorrow's news reported obedience and faithfulness to Christ an illegal act, would your current way of life cause the police to come knocking on your door? If so, would you be happily convicted?Image

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