“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathised with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:32-35/NIV)
These men and women had endured many difficulties early after they began to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. They had been insulted and persecuted. They supported others who were persecuted or even put to prison because of their faith in Jesus. Some of them even experienced that the authorities confiscated their property because they were Christians.
To these Hebrew believers, their faith in Jesus was very precious. In him they had found answers to great questions of their lives. What they had gained through faith in Jesus was more precious to them than anything else. Through Jesus they had an eternal hope. They knew God would reward their faithfulness and their confidence.
This makes me think of one of the Lord’s parables:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45/NIV).
Faith in Jesus was like a precious pearl to these believers. Knowing Him was more valuable to them than anything else.
These believers also were practicing what Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12/NIV).