Joseph was a proud Maasai Warrior living in eastern Africa when he first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the side of a hot, dusty road. In that moment, he dedicated his life to Christ and immediately made plans to share the Good News with members of his tribe.
But this warrior had never been in a fight like the one he was about to walk into.
Joseph went from door-to-door telling everyone about the cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered. He expected them to eagerly embrace Christ as he had, but to his amazement, the villagers not only rejected the Gospel, they became violent, as well. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. Afterwards, he was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.
Joseph managed to slowly crawl to a watering hole, and there, after several days of passing in and out of consciousness, he gained enough strength to stand up. He was perplexed by the hostile reception he received from people he’d known all his life and decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. So after rehearsing his important message over and over, he went back to share his faith again.
Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus’ love. “He died for you, so that you might have forgiveness and come to know the living God!” he cried. Again, he was flung to the ground by the men of the village while the women beat him; wounds that had just begun to heal were reopened. Like the first time, they dragged his unconscious body away from the village and left him to die.
To have survived the first beating was truly remarkable. To live through the second one was borderline miraculous. But several days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred…and determined to go back yet again.
He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked Joseph before he even had a chance to open his mouth. While they flogged him the third time, Joseph pleaded with them to seek the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was the women beating him had begun to weep.
When he regained consciousness the third time, it was in his own bed. The men and women who had so severely beaten him were now trying to save his life and nurse him back to health. The entire village had become Christians because of Joseph’s willingness to suffer on their behalf.
Joseph’s love, dedication, and commitment to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ were evident in the life of a man named Philemon. When the Apostle Paul wrote to him 2,000 years ago, Paul admonished him to continue his important work:
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 1:6-7)
Yes, barbed wire leaves its mark. But so does our persistence and faithfulness to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“Wounded in the House of Friends,” by Michael Card. Virtue Magazine, March/April, 1991, Pages 28–29, 69.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)