For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Paul’s Passionate Desire
If you have read the Book of Romans, you can tell what Paul’s greatest passion was. It was to save as many as God would give him to help save, and one time Paul wrote that he’d even be willing to have his relationship cut off from Christ if only his fellow Jews could be saved (Romans 9:3). Can you imagine that? He was willing to trade his eternal soul in everlasting punishment if only his brothers and sisters might know Christ and be saved. Paul had such a passion for seeking the lost that he was willing to endure beatings with rods, floggings, tortures, and whippings and being stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, freezing, hungry, and thirsty just so he would tell others how they might be saved (1 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Paul’s Passionate Focus
According to historians, both secular and church, Paul was one of the most brilliant men of his day. Yet what was Paul’s passionate bottom line? He was resolved to know nothing more than Jesus Christ and Him crucified, determined to know nothing more than Christ and make Him known among the Corinthians and that Jesus was crucified for them (1 Corinthians 2:2). He deeply desired to know Jesus and His power and the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings, and to even become like Him in His tortuous death (Philippians 3:10). Compared to knowing Christ, he counted everything else as garbage (Philippians 3:8). If he boasted about anything at all, it would be on the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14).
The Disciples’ Biggest Passion
Listen to how the apostles all died and see if you can figure out their biggest passion. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Matthew was impaled by spears and beheaded. Bartholomew, or Nathaniel, as he was sometimes called, was whipped or flayed to death. Philip was impaled with hooks through his ankles and died hanging upside down. James (son of Zebedee) was beheaded. Jude was crucified. Matthias was stoned to death and, even after death, beheaded. James (the lesser, not Jesus’ half-brother) was thrown off the pinnacle of the temple and then beaten to death. Peter was crucified upside down, thinking himself unworthy to die as Christ did. The Apostle Paul was beaded. Why did they all die? It was because they were willing to go into all the world to preach the Gospel as they were commanded (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). Your passion might not be the same as these men So what is your biggest passion? Have you tried doing this for Jesus lately?
A Closing Prayer
Father, I have such a passion for the lost because someone had compassion enough to tell me how to be saved. I pray, Father, for a daily divinely set appointment that I might tell others how to know the Savior and why they need saving (John 3:36b), and in my Savior’s blessed name I pray.
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