Acts 5:17-42; Deuteronomy 25-27; Job 16
My sports team won last night. That makes me happy. I looked at the “likes” on my Facebook page and on my latest blog post. I’m feeling good about myself. I think of my grandchildren and I rejoice greatly because they are, of course the greatest. Rejoicing is an important part of the Christian life. The apostles rejoiced too. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:41-42) Wait a minute. They were rejoicing because of their troubles? The Jewish leaders had the apostles flogged and they didn’t file a lawsuit; they didn’t start a petition on change.org; they didn’t even come up with a hashtag campaign to fight back? Either they don’t understand rejoicing, and good reason to rejoice, or we don’t. Why would anyone rejoice because they had been flogged? The key is that they were flogged because they were effective witnesses of Jesus Christ. The same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified considered them such a threat that they punished them too. They rejoiced that God trusted them to endure pain from the very people who inflicted it on Jesus. The flogging didn’t stop the apostles, it encouraged them and they continued teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus. Today, our first reaction to any difficulty for staying faithful is to find ways to demand our rights and bring public attention to those awful people who would do such a thing. Perhaps instead we need to see such attacks as reasons to rejoice; God has considered us worthy to face opposition because of our faithfulness to Him!
Lord God, help me to remember the main thing. Remind me that my job is to continue teaching and proclaiming the good news about Jesus each and every day no matter what may happen. While I have not faced opposition because of proclaiming my faith, give me the grace to face such opposition with rejoicing that You have considered me worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ.