THE FRUIT OF FEARLESS FAITH
O Lord, You are my light and salvation, the stronghold of my life. May I never be afraid (Psalm 27:1).
Read Acts 5:33–42
33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 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.”
40 His speech persuaded them. 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.
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat would it be like to live freely for Christ, regardless of fear?
Ever since God chose Abraham to father a nation, to be Jewish was to be special. Over time, there were some who became proud and fiercely protective of their exceptional status. The apostles were teaching that salvation was now for anyone who believed in the name of Jesus. They were told to shut up, and when they didn’t, they were brought before the Sanhedrin – the religious court.
The Sanhedrin had immense authority. Only the intervention of the highly rational and articulate Gamaliel prevented the high priest ordering the immediate execution of the apostles (38). They were flogged and released on condition they stopped talking about Jesus. That could have been the end of the story. But ‘they never stopped teaching and proclaiming’ (42). Their clear allegiance was to Jesus and they were compelled to ‘make disciples of all nations’ as He’d instructed them to (Matthew 28:19). As a result, you and I have come to hear, believe, and become disciples. We are part of a worldwide church, still worshipping Christ and living in hope of eternal life.
Who will believe because we chose to speak about our faith, regardless of the consequences to our status, careers or even safety?
Do you have any ‘difficult’ friends or colleagues who make it especially hard for you to share your faith with them? Make them a special object of prayer this week.
Lord, give me the courage to suffer in Your name so that everyone I know has a chance to hear what You have done for them.