In today's readings in Acts 5 the apostles insist on preaching, whatever the risks.
As it says in the previous chapter at 4:33, "with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." At 5:32, they say "we are witnesses to these things..." (and hence we must speak). They can not be stopped. When they had been imprisoned earlier, 5:18-20, an angel of the Lord freed them from prison, and said "Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life." What would you do?!
The boldness of the apostles and disciples to speak in the face of the great risk to themselves - imprisonment, beating - is remarkable. They are bold to speak. They say at Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather then men." At Acts 5:41, after just having been beating for preaching and speaking the truth, they "left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name [Jesus]." And they kept speaking and teaching: "they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus."
They were bold to speak, insistent on testifying to what they had seen despite the risks (real, not imagined or future...again, they had already been imprisoned and beaten), and what is more, counting it an hour to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.
Some thoughts. First, there are some in the world who truly suffer for the name of Jesus. We should learn their stories and pray for them. There are people in the 'free west' who lose jobs, for example. There are people in the developing world who lose their lives, who risk life and limb. We should stand with them.
Second, for our reflection, are we ready to count it dishonor when it comes time to suffer for the name of Jesus, in whatever way come to us? To stand up in seemingly small ways, at the office, with family or friends, to defend the honor of the faith, the church, and Jesus? To stand up in big ways? To consider how we witness? Our lifestyle choices? Choosing to risk being labeled 'geeks for the gospel'?
Jesus preached in the sermon on the mount that we are blessed when other revile us and persecute us and utter evil against us on his account. Rejoice and be glad, he said, for so they persecuted the prophets. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Worth reflecting on.
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
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Desiring God Ministries
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