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To a New Yorker in NYC, hearing someone yell, “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau,” while walking down the street, would not be weird. In fact, it would bring back memories of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals when the New York Rangers won in double overtime against the New Jersey Devils. Stephane Matteau scored the winning goal, and the announcer started yelling his last name. New Yorkers would start screaming his name along with the person who started the chant, thinking nothing of it.

However, if you are not from NYC or a Rangers fan, then you would have no idea what was going on. One might wonder how this guy stubbed his toe in the middle of the street, and how everyone else around him stubbed their toe as well. They are out of place in that situation, and they would wonder why these people are acting the way they are acting.

When Christians suffer in the manner Peter instructs us to suffer; the world similarly looks at us.

In the first century, there was heavy persecution of Christians by the Roman government. Christians would not have thought it strange to see other Christians suffer for the cause of Christ, even if it meant their death. Christian knew of the reward that awaited their faith in Christ; they were certain God would keep His promise of a home in heaven. This is the goal of every Christian; the Romans were simply sending them home early.

As Gentiles saw Christians being asked to denounce Christianity or face death, they probably wondered why Christians chose to die rather than giving up their faith. Peter writes that the Gentiles are surprised of the Christians behavior and they will malign them for it, but that they will provide an account to God for their conduct (1 Peter 4:4-ff).

The reason Gentiles do not understand why Christians will take death over denying God is they are out of place in that situation. Christians have the hope of everlasting life in heaven, and they are unwilling to give that up.

 

Enjoy your freedom