“To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! … Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.” (Psalms 123:1, 3-4 ESV)
Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
“We have had more than enough of contempt.” We may feel the same way. Christians around the world suffer severe persecution, facing not only contempt, but the loss of homes and employment, violence, imprisonment, and death. Although we may not endure the suffering known by many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we too bear the world’s contempt. We live in a culture that claims many “truths” and views with disdain any claim to an absolute truth. People embrace many gods and beliefs, and our allegiance to one God and Savior is often viewed as intolerant. We know the world’s contempt because we live in a world that has “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25a ESV).
The earliest followers of Jesus also endured “the scorn of those who are at ease” and “the contempt of the proud.” The apostles, eyewitnesses to the resurrection were arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and most, according to tradition, suffered martyrdom. We should not be surprised by the world’s scorn and contempt. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18 ESV). Jesus suffered hatred and scorn. He was rejected as Israel’s Messiah and, according to God’s plan for salvation, Jesus was condemned and crucified. Overcoming the world’s contempt and evil, Jesus rose from death on the first Easter morning. To the Lord now enthroned in glory in the heavens, we lift our eyes and plead for mercy and help: “We have had more than enough of contempt!”
Calling a persecutor to be His ambassador, the risen Savior asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4b ESV) Our crucified and conquering Lord knows the hatred and grief endured by His body, the church. Warning His followers of the trouble to come, Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV). Through the power of His resurrection, through His victory over the world’s hatred, over death and the devil, Jesus has had mercy on us. His victory is our victory.
We now proclaim—in the face of the world’s scorn and contempt—the message of the cross. It is a message that many consider to be weak and foolish, but we know that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV). The world may express its scorn and contempt, but we know and confess the Word of the cross as the Gospel truth!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, have mercy and deliver Your followers who endure persecution. Keep them strong in faith and encourage them through Your Word. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. People in many countries are held in contempt for their Christian faith, is that something we experience in the U.S., too?
2. Does knowing that Jesus suffered the world’s animosity help you when your faith is tested?
3. What’s your reaction when you feel belittled or mocked because of your faith?