Sunday, February 5, 2012

Acts 5:17-18

Summary retelling of Acts 5:17-18:

Spiritual leadership (for better or worse) will rise up and assert itself.  The Jewish leaders – driven by jealousy – rise up and arrest the disciples and throw them in prison.  Even worse, we are told that the imprisonment was not some private “hush-hush” prison but rather this was a public imprisonment.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
I truly meant what I said in the opening words of my summary retelling.  Leadership will assert itself.  Sometimes it comes quickly.  Other times it needs time to develop.  But eventually leadership will assert itself, for that is the definition of leadership.  However, not all leadership is good.  Here we see the Jewish spiritual leaders rising up and acting out of jealousy.  They act not because God is leading them to stop false teaching; they act because the disciples are stealing their show.

How often does a human emotion like jealousy get in the way of what God is trying to do here on earth?

Second Thought:
The apostles are thrown into prison.  There’s no other way to paint this truth.  They are imprisoned.  They are thrown into prison because of their faith.  They “have a record” now because they were called to proclaim Jesus Christ.

So what are you willing to do for Christ?  Are there things God might ask you to do that legitimately proclaim Him to the world that you would be unwilling to do?

Third Thought:
The imprisonment is specifically called out as public in the Bible (and even in the original Greek).  This is clearly a “smear tactic” on behalf of the Jewish leaders.  They understand the popularity that the apostles have been generating and they want to do something to stop it.  Nothing causes good people to look negatively upon someone else than smearing their reputation by throwing them in jail. After all, who wants to be associated with lawbreaker, right?  (For the record, they accused Jesus of being a lawbreaker, too.  I do mind being associated with Him.)

How often do other people try to knock down our public testimony by talking poorly about us or by putting us in a potentially compromising situation?  Are you willing – like the apostles – to do it for the sake of Christ?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 5:19-21
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