Worthy of His Name

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about some cool guys (AKA Peter and John) and what they in the book of Acts. Today I was reading again in Acts and it got even better! You know, I'm really beginning to like this book. :)

Peter and some other apostles were again preaching the good news of Jesus. They were arrested and put into jail, but in the middle of the night, through the Lord's incredible power, they walked out of the jail completely unharmed and without being noticed. The next day the Pharisees and high priests came to check on them in the jail, and noticed they were gone yet all the doors were still locked and the guards were on duty.

Let's pause a second. OKAY, I just think that's awesome. I can't help but smile at the incredible power of our King!

Back to the story, so Peter and the apostles were out preaching ONCE again. Look at that dedication! I love these guys!

Some officers went and arrested the men once again. This time the apostles stood before them and the high priest of the Sanhedrin said: "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s [Jesus] blood.” 

In response to this Peter says:
"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.”

To conclude the story, the high priest REALLY wanted to put them all to death out of anger and frustration. But one of the Pharisees said no and... "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.”

Afterward, they flogged the apostles, told them not to speak about Jesus and then let them go.

And what I love most about this story is what they did next:

"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. "

Okay, let's think about this. Here you have some ordinary men, preaching the gospel day after day, risking their life, facing death or severe punishments, and even after being put in jail and being beaten, they GO OUT REJOICING! And they CONTINUE to preach the Gospel!

After reading that I sat there and asked myself, "Could I do that? Could I go out rejoicing and despite the potential consequences, continue sharing the Gospel?"

Quite honestly, in our day to day lives, we really aren't risking all that much in regards to sharing the Gospel. In fact, what we think we're risking is honestly selfish. Popularity. Reputation. Amount of friends. It's all about us when it comes to whether or not we're willing to live boldly for Christ.

But look at these men, they counted themselves as worthy for suffering for Christ! I think very few would say that today.

So you say Christ is your King, you say you love Him with all your heart, but could you give everything up in this world for Him? Everything? And could you do it with rejoicing?
Could you count everything as loss in order to serve Jesus, the One who you say you've 'dedicated' your life to?

No doubt, it's a struggle. No doubt, we can't do it on our own. But if we are filled up with God and His word constantly--more and more--then our lives and actions will reflect that.

Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." 

P.S. The verses from the story in Acts came from chapter 5.

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