Fear of Opposition and Persecution

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In Acts chapter five, the apostles were arrested for preaching about Jesus and talking publicly about his death, burial, and resurrection. Acts 5:40 states, “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

Flogging was extremely painful and was done with a whip made of a leather strap that had three different strands that were interwoven through the fabric, and they would have little pieces of metal, sharp pieces of glass, and sharp little bones throughout. Many times a person would not survive a flogging. Thankfully, each of these apostles did on this occasion, and after the floggings, they were threatened again. But the apostles refused to stop talking because their experiences with Jesus. In fact, verses 41 and 42 tells us, “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 Messiah.” 

They're beaten and yet, they celebrate? Why did they celebrate when being granted the opportunity to suffer? It was because they suffered for Jesus’s name; he was their savior, their Lord, their master. He was the one whom death could not keep. Jesus had told them to expect suffering and persecution, and he himself had endured it during his earthly ministry.

The opposition didn't seem to dissuade the first Christians. In fact, the opposition actually inspired them. They realized that their suffering enhanced their testimony and deepened their faith, and it also made them look more like Jesus. Unity brings joy, and they felt honored that they had the opportunity to do something that Jesus had done. They were united with Christ through their suffering. 

Discussion/Reflection Question: When in your life have you allowed opposition to inspire you instead of bringing you down?

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