The phrase “sacrifice of praise” catches my attention. Praise and sacrifice don’t seem to go together in my mind. But the writer of Hebrews says the sacrifice of praise comes by people declaring their allegiance to Jesus.
Praise of God calls for sacrifice.
You see, just previous to the verse stated above, we read about the disgrace Jesus suffered when He died to make us holy (Hebrews 13:11-12). Then we hear the author’s urgent instruction to us: “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore” (Hebrews 13:13). Acknowledging Jesus as our Lord requires us to bear the disgrace He bore.
Don’t fall for the lie that says, “Jesus suffered so I wouldn’t have to.” Knowing Jesus and becoming like Him includes experiencing the shame and rejection that He experienced. Consider the apostles’ reaction when the religious rulers of their day whipped and threatened them: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
The apostles didn’t complain about their suffering. They didn’t seek compensation or retribution for their humiliation. Instead, the apostles rejoiced because their disgrace came from being aligned with Jesus.
God calls us to openly acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Messiah. When we admit our status as needy sinners, dependent on Jesus for salvation, scorn and abuse may come. Yet, we don’t despair. Rather, we give thanks to God for the privilege of being treated the way Jesus was treated. That’s a sacrifice of praise.
Heavenly Father, I acknowledge Jesus as my Lord. May my life — my actions and my words — declare this truth regardless of the consequences. Amen.
Go deeper — Read John 15:18-25, 1 Peter 2:18-25 and 1 Peter 4:12-16. Why do we suffer as Christians? How should we respond?
Photo Credit: Elaine Casap