4:9 “For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.”
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death;
God “displayed” the apostles last as men condemned to death. The word “displayed” means to show forth. “Displayed” is a technical term used for exhibiting gladiators in an arena to give awesome entertainment to spectators. God displayed the apostles to come last in a parade as gladiators condemned to death. Some fought wild animals. The word “condemned” means God put the apostles at death’s door to be paraded before public gaze as objects of scorn. God put them into a place where they were viewed as criminals and the dregs of society. What a super contrast to the Corinthians who were reigning as kings (4:1-8)!
for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
The word “spectacle” is literally theater. The apostles were made a spectacle as in an amphitheater of old. God put them on stage in a vast exhibition before the lost.
Sometimes Christian service requires being placed into public scorn.
There are two kinds of people in life: (1) those on the field and (2) those in the stands. Those on the field take hits from the opposition. They are often the subject of criticism and blame. Those in the stands do all the yielding and hurling of epithets.
That is the way it is in the local church as well. There are those on the field who give their all while those in the stands criticize what they do. Personally, I would rather be criticized for what I do rather than for what I don’t do. We cannot fear shame for Christ, since this will immobilize us from courageous service for our Lord. Jesus Himself was placed on public display and was made a laughingstock to the world. It comes as a great shock for some Christians to realize that God sometimes designs pain for their lives.
Ph 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…