Monday, February 13, 2012

Acts 5:39-42

Summary retelling of Acts 5:39-42:

The Sanhedrin seems to heed Gamaliel’s advice, but they beat the apostles anyway.  I guess nothing says “we won’t do anything and let God sort it out over time” like handing someone an old-fashioned beating first.  They also charged them again to not preach in the name of Jesus.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin and rejoiced that they had been beaten for the sake of the relationship Jesus Christ has with them.  They didn’t let a beating stop them from talking about Jesus and His role in their life. 

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
The disciples get beat.  Sure, they don’t die – at least, not yet – but they get an old-fashioned beating just for preaching in Jesus’ name.  It is really humbling for me to realize that they got beat for doing something that people pay me to do!  Would I continue to do it if I get beat instead of getting paid for it?  I’d like to believe I would, but I would be a fool to not admit that it would change my perspective a little.

Are you willing to take a beating for Jesus?  If someone told you that every time you went to church, read your Bible, or mentioned the name of Jesus that they were going to beat you – would you continue in the faith?

Second Thought:
The apostles rejoiced in their beating.  They didn’t just take it and move on; they actually rejoiced in the fact that they were allowed to suffer for the sake of Jesus.  I think there is something to be said about the power that persecution has in making truly faithful people.  Anyone can have what passes for faith when it costs nothing and there are no expectations.  But only the true believer can have genuine faith when it may cost everything.

Do you rejoice when you have to suffer for Christ?  When you find yourself feeling badly (sick, headache, bad mood, whatever) – do you long to go to worship even more and talk about God or is it an excuse to stay away?  When obstacles are put in your path that make it difficult to have a relationship with God – even some good obstacles like friendships, hanging out, sleep-overs, vacations, etc – do you capitulate and let the obstacle win or do you rejoice in your opportunity to overcome the obstacle and show that God is more important in your life?

Third Thought:
The apostles here have a clear focus and an obvious priority: talk about Jesus in their life.  They want to introduce people to Jesus.  Their life is not about doing what they want and being with God on the side when it is convenient.  Their life is all about using the time God has given them to introduce other people to Jesus Christ.  They have a singular focus.  Is there any wonder why the early “church” grew so rapidly?

Is your top focus in life introducing people to Jesus?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 6:1-2
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