“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. 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.” Acts 5.40-42
There are worse things than flogging.
The Apostles were sold out for Jesus. Nothing could stop them, even flogging. Now flogging is not a gentle rebuke. It’s not death, but its also not something I could wish on my worse enemy. The cat of nine tails, the whip embedded with nails, shards of glass and rocks. The tearing and ripping of skins. I mean really? I complain when I get a tiniest paper cut!
But these Apostles were faithful. They were fully committed. And the joy of the Lord that filled their hearts enabled them to endure such abuse and still walk away rejoicing. They were celebrating for being “counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” of Jesus.
Wow…is this different than my experience of cultural Christianity! Growing up in the USA, where persecution is not really bad at all — perhaps it’s coming, but since the founding of our great nation Christianity has been well respected. In parts of the world like China or the Middle East, or North Korea, persecution is a very real threat. And if you ever visit the ministry site ”Voice of the Martyrs” you will realize people are dying daily for Christ. Even though it’s not my experience, it doesn’t mean I can’t relate. I can only imagine the cost of what these Apostles and the modern day martyrs are enduring for the sake of the Name of Jesus.
Some might be rebuked, it happened the other day to me by ”a friend” who was offended by the ministry in which I was engaged. My human side was offended in return. Rather, I should count all ministry for the Lord Jesus Christ as worthy of being rebuked. Rather than being defensive, like I admittedly was, next time I will rejoice like the Apostles for never stopping ”teaching and preaching the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” Regardless of denominations affiliations, regardless of offenses it might ”appear” to bother some people in some churches, I will still preach the name of Jesus. I will proclaim his goodness and use every means, avenue, ministry, opportunity to do just that.
On a personal note, as in reflection, I often tell folks I do ”all things Methodist” in the ministries for which I relate. Be it recruiting for Truett Seminary Wesley House, putting on events and camps for Revive or coaching and consulting for Movement Ministries. It’s almost all Methodist related, even though my end goal isn’t to make more Methodists. All these opportunities are simply avenues to spread the gospel of Christ and to proclaim that he is the Messiah. I’m called to make disciples and if they happen to connect to a faithful, traditional, Bible-believing Wesleyan-Methodist church then so be it!
I hope to be more like the Apostles that I might become offense to many for promoting Jesus unapologetically. I pray that I might be counted worthy even in the midst of “bombshell rebukes” by other Christians immature enough to ”share the space.”
Ok, that’s enough of my rant! But in it we find truth, truth to love, to share, to communicate the Gospel of Jesus and to see transformation happening in lives of everyday ordinary sinners just like you and me.
To whom has Christ given you the opportunity to preach? To whom has he allowed you to share his Good News? Are you being persecuted for your obedience? Praise the Lord! Rejoice, for you have been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ.
“O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for helping me find truth and peace within your Word. Use me as you will. If I offend others, but proclaim your Truth, then so be it. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and power. Fall upon all who are faithfully walking as you walked. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen