And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit:
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Those who, eager to believe, suffer insults and injuries from their fellows, are precisely those who may be called imitators of the apostles and of the Lord himself. He suffered the same things from the Jews, as did the apostles who endured persecution as they pursued their faith in God. .
Strange! What an encomium is here! The disciples have suddenly become teachers! They not only heard the word, but they quickly arrived at the same height with Paul. But this is nothing; for see how he exalts them, saying, You became imitators of the Lord. How? Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. Not merely with affliction, but with much affliction. And this we may learn from the Acts of the Apostles, how they raised a persecution against them. Acts 17:5-8 And they troubled all the rulers of the city, and they instigated the city against them. And it is not enough to say, you were afflicted indeed, and believed, and that grieving, but even rejoicing. Which also the Apostles did: Rejoicing, it is said, that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. Acts 5:41 For it is this that is admirable. Although neither is that a slight matter, in any way to bear afflictions. But this now was the part of men surpassing human nature, and having, as...
“With joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,” Paul says. So that no one can say, “How can you speak of affliction and of joy in the same breath?” he adds, “inspired by the Holy Spirit.” The affliction pertains to the body, and the joy to things spiritual. But how? The things that happened to them were burdensome, but not so the things that sprang up out of them, for the Spirit does not allow it. So then, it is possible for one who suffers not to rejoice when he is suffering for his sins but nevertheless to experience pleasure when he is being beaten and suffers for Christ’s sake. For such is the joy of the Spirit. In return for the things which seem to be burdensome, the Spirit brings delight. They have afflicted you, he says, and persecuted you, but the Spirit did not forsake you even in those circumstances. ...
you became imitators of us and of the Lord
Imitating, that is, in faith and morals. Or CHRYS they were imitators of the Lord because He also endured many sufferings, but rejoiced.
but with the joy of the Holy Spirit
For the Apostle may had in mind concerning those things that are said in Acts, "And indeed, they went forth from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer insult on behalf of the name of Jesus." (5:41) ...