Growth under persecution

Acts 5

Busy chapter.

Ananias and his wife lie to the Holy Spirit and die.

The apostles carry on Jesus’ healing ministry. All who come to them are healed.

The apostles teach openly at the temple about Jesus.

The church continues to grow which makes the Jewish leadership jealous.

The apostles are arrested, jailed, set free by angels, teach more, re arrested and told to just quit it. Quit teaching about Jesus. Just stop already.

Peters reply is “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”’

Then a very wise man named Gamaliel says something that gives me hope,
“38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”’

(The reason this is encouraging to me is that if Gamaliel’s logic is sound then the existence of Christianity today, 2000 years after this incident, is itself proof that the message of Jesus is from God, not that proof is needed. Jesus died. Jesus rose from the dead. These are real events in history but why Jesus died and what he accomplished in his death and resurrection are a matter of faith and belief. I believe I was estranged from God by my rebellion and selfishness, but God made a way back through his son Jesus. I have accepted this gift by faith and believe that I my relationship with God is now restored.)

Then the apostles are beaten up, flogged, and let go.

“41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 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 Messiah.”

This new thing, the good news of Jesus coming and dying for our sin. It’s a new way of living. It’s a heart thing. It’s no longer about external shows or following rules. Our heart has to be right inside of us. The Good news is that Jesus can do that. He can make our hearts right.

There is power in this new life. Power to heal, power to be witnesses of what Jesus Is doing in our lives. Power to keep going even in great opposition. The opposition is heating up. It is more visible and more real and more menacing then I have I ever seen.

Jesus strengthen my weak arms and feeble legs so that I can stand and be a witness to the amazing love, amazing mercy, amazing grace, that you have for me. Not just for me but for all people who come to you and repent. Help us grow Jesus in numbers, because each increment up is another soul saved from destruction one more child who has been lost and is found. As you use us to gather up your straying children, Help us grow in our abilities to serve and help and heal this broken world full of lost and hurting people.

Author: Peterloeffelbein

I am a man. I am an older man. I am a husband and a dad and a grandpa. I am a disciple of Jesus. Because I am a disciple of Jesus much of what I write is about him, and I usually end what I write with a question, do you the reader know that Jesus loves you? He does. He loves us all but he loves you specifically. He loves me specifically. What will you do with that information today?

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