Enduring Persecution for the Sake of Christ

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“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (KJV, Acts 5:40-42).

“And to him they agreed”

Father, Your work is an amazing work, and Your truth is a solid truth. You have preserved Your Word, and for that, I am thankful. When I look upon the Scripture, I notice that the enemies of Christ sought to bring the apostles to ruin. Nevertheless, they were ultimately tools of Satan, who came to steal, kill, and destroy.

Your Word tells me that they agreed with the council of Gamaliel. He said to them that if what the apostles were doing was of God, then they could not overthrow it. Thank You for Your divine aid in building Your church. Thank you for Your involvement in the apostle’s work and spreading Your Word.

“and when they had called the apostles”

When I look upon the apostles, I am astonished at what Your Spirit accomplished in their lives. You made Peter, a fearful man, into a bold witness for Christ. You made John, one of the Sons of Thunder, into a man of love. You made Matthew the tax collector into an honest witness for Christ.

Sometimes when I begin to doubt, and questions arise as to whether Jesus was Who He said He was, I am encouraged in the apostles’ lives. Their lives and deaths quickly drive away my sinful doubts. They knew Jesus and lived with Jesus during His earthly ministry. They witnessed the death of Christ and would have had no good reason to proclaim His resurrection unless it was true. They died because they claimed that Jesus was the Messiah and He rose from the dead.

Thank You for their testimonies and their words that have been preserved for me.

“and beaten them”

The apostles endured persecution and harsh treatment as they proclaimed Christ. They truly had to bear their cross and suffer for the sake of Jesus. Church history tells me that all but John died a martyr’s death. I see that James was the first to die. They all endured immense persecution and trials of faith for Your glory. But from their trials, my faith grows. Why would they die if they knew that Christ had not risen? Why would they endure a martyr’s death if they did not honestly believe he was the Messiah?

Clearly, they did believe and not just one of them. They all believed. Christ appeared to them after His resurrection, blessed them with the Spirit of God, and sent them out into a world as sheep among wolves.

“they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus”

The world did not want to hear the message of Christ. The world did not want to hear that it was subject to a Creator and thus must submit to His rule. The people had their own agenda; unfortunately, not much has changed. But Your Word tells me that Jesus’ sheep hear His voice, and they follow Him.

Thank You for calling me to Yourself before the foundation of the earth. You set me apart in Christ and sovereignly ordained the day in which I would hear the voice of Christ and respond as His sheep. May I never fall into the trap of the fear of man? Guard my heart and help me to share Your Word no matter how bad things get.

“and let them go”

While the Bible tells me that the council let them go, the real reason was that it was not their time to die. You are above Your creation and orchestrate all events to fulfill Your purposes and plans. While I cannot explain how You do it, I must believe You do. Your Word tells me in the book of Ephesians that You work all things to the counsel of Your Will. In Romans, I am told that You work all things for my good. It is truly a blessing to be in Your care.

“And they departed from the presence of the council”

The council met face-to-face with the apostles. The ones Christ chose to send the message of salvation to the lost were in their midst. Nevertheless, the council sent the apostles away, and the apostles departed from their presence. The imagery is telling. None of them would likely have experienced salvation at a later point.

When Paul spoke to the Corinthians, he told them that today was the day of salvation. When Christ told the parable of the sower, he spoke of the seed which fell along the path. Later He explained that Satan plucked up the seed which fell along the path. Thus, the enemy came and took the seed, so there was no growth. May I never turn Your Word away? Please make me receptive to Your teaching.


Father, You have given me many reasons to rejoice. However, I often find that I lose sight of Your many blessings. Please fix my eyes on Christ this day. Help me to see all that He has done for me so that I, too, can rejoice in Him.

The apostles were able to rejoice after they had been beaten. Likewise, Paul was able to rejoice in prison. Therefore, something more significant than their circumstances elicited such joy. They would have had no reason for rejoicing in the present world. Instead, their eternal perspective shaped their thinking, and rejoicing flowed from their heart.

“that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name”

They rejoiced that they were identified with Christ in their suffering. Father, would You prepare my heart as You did theirs? Would You help me to embrace every opportunity I have in which I can be made like Christ? I often pray that You would make me like Him. However, I do not want the cross when my cross moments come. It is easy to pray about being like Christ, but it is hard to walk Calvary Road. May I see my crosses as answers to prayer, and would You make me like Jesus?

“And daily in the temple”

Every day the apostles were living for You. They did not live for You on Sundays and then returned to their lives throughout the rest of the week. Christ is not divided, nor do You only demand one day a week. You have called me to surrender all to You. Jesus said that if I would follow Him, I must deny myself and take up my cross daily. May I always, every day, live for You and Your will.

“and in every house”

The apostles were in the temple and the people’s houses seeking to share the news of Jesus. You have told me that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Your Word tells me that Christ came and died for my sins, rose from the grave, and that man must respond in faith and repentance to Your Gospel message.

Please help me to share the good news of the Savior. He is worthy of being shared. I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus has told me that if I share about Him with others, He will also recognize me before You and the angels of heaven. I desire to be recognized by You in this life and the life to come.

“they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ”

Yet again, I am made aware of the ministry of the apostles. They were zealous for the Lord. They did not cease to teach and preach the good news of Jesus Christ. The early church was an amazing time of conversion and devotion to You. Please, help me learn Your Word so that I too can share Your Word truthfully. Help me be a bold ambassador for Christ so You can make Your appeal through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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