Severe Opposition; Unshakeable Commitment
Today’s reading: Acts 4:23-6:15
My selection: Acts 4:29-31
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
My reflections: This period of history of the early church was characterized by powerful preaching by the apostles, radical commitment on the part of believers, miraculous signs and wonders performed by God, and relentless opposition by the authorities.
After the paralytic man had been healed at the temple, the chief priests and elders arrested Peter and John and ordered them to desist from preaching in Jesus’ name. Notice their reaction to this.
1. They refused to stop preaching. They invoked their obligation to obey God over any human authority.
2. They prayed for boldness to keep preaching.
3. They continued preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The result of this was not an easing of persecution, but the high priest and Sadducees ramped up opposition and imprisoned the apostles.
My challenge: What would you do if faced with such severe opposition? What would you pray for? The Apostles did not pray for the opposition to diminish, but for their ability to continue to speak the word with boldness. The church of Jesus Christ in the Western World may be on the brink of severe opposition, as we have never seen. Be ready to proclaim Christ in the face of official resistance. Ask not for relief from persecution, but for boldness to bear whatever consequences come your way.
Tomorrow’s reading: Acts 7:1-8:25