A Solemn Right

17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus (Galatians 6).

Before writing these Galatians, Paul had written to the church at Corinth how he had been “beaten times without number” (2 Corinthians 11:23). Without his ministry he would never have been beaten at all. Most assuredly, if he had not first fallen under the sweet yoke of Jesus in preaching His Gospel, all those whips and rods and stones would never have fallen upon him. They were literally “the brand-marks of Jesus”—and he wore them proudly. Indeed, through all those countless beatings Paul had earned the right to have a say with those Galatians.

It is interesting that the word for “trouble” literally means “a beating,” and was often used figuratively, as in “beating one’s breast in sorrow or anguish.” In other words, no one had the right to make Paul beat his breast—because others had beaten his back. He had a solemn right to preach the gospel because he had most assuredly suffered greatly for it. He had a solemn right to teach about Jesus because he himself bore the physical persecutions for Him.

Lord, we know all of us who are in Christ Jesus have been sealed inwardly by Your Spirit—and we also know some of us have been or will be branded outwardly for following Him. Help those endure who will suffer This Day for following Jesus. Amen.