The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Acts 5:41
Peter and some of the other apostles had been preaching the gospel all over the city of Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin were upset about this and brought them in for questioning. After giving the apostles a severe beating they were released with a warning to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. As the disciples left, they were rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus and so they continued to talk about Jesus to everyone they met.
Disgrace or humiliation is something most people do not like to have done to them. When a person is disgraced it is often done publicly and it harms their name or reputation in the wrong way. They are often made to appear as though they are wrong or had done something wrong, when they are completely innocent of any wrong doing.
Often when a person is disgraced publicly, they retaliate with a lawsuit against the person who did the disgracing. They want revenge against the person who has done wrong to their name and caused them social harm.
The apostles had been physically and publicly beaten for talking about Jesus. The only people who were beaten like that were those who had done something wrong. The apostles had not done anything legally wrong, other than upset the leadership of the temple, and that was not a legal thing.
Yet, despite being beaten, they rejoiced. They rejoiced in being beaten. They did this because they felt as though it was an honor to be beaten for Jesus.
Believers today need to keep this attitude in mind. Being humiliated because one has done the right thing for Jesus, is not a bad thing. It is being a testimony of the dedication and love for Jesus. It is an example of who Jesus is.
Think about how much Jesus was beaten and humiliated for you. He suffered and died on a cross, which was a curse from God for you. No man can do more than that to you for believing and talking about Jesus.
Rejoice when people ridicule you for believing in Jesus. Your words, actions and reactions are being a witness of your love for Jesus. It is showing who Jesus really is. Have the right attitude in suffering.
I pray today that you will be a bold witness of who Jesus is; that you will not fear any ridicule for believing in Jesus; that God will strengthen you in times of suffering for Jesus; and that you will be the right witness in suffering for Jesus.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Acts 4:29
Peter and John had already been put in prison for preaching about Jesus. They had been released and all the believers gathered together to pray. Persecution against believers was increasing tremendously. As they prayed, they prayed for boldness to speak the gospel message.
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, the world has been against those who believe in God. During the Old Testament times, many different nations tried to destroy the nation of Israel, until Israel destroyed itself in rejecting God. They had fallen into the pressure of the world to not follow God.
Later when Jesus came, it was no longer the idea of going against Israel, but against those who follow Jesus. Since the time of Jesus, the persecution against believers has changed in small areas. For a time one nation may persecute Christians strongly, and then later back off some, or it is usually the other way around.
In America it is appearing that persecution of believers is rising higher and higher. Many believers who are in situations of being harassed about their beliefs are praying that God would remove the problem. They want the persecution to stop and that is what their prayers are about.
Looking at the book of Acts, the disciples did not pray for the persecution to stop, but that they would be that much more bold in proclaiming God’s word.
Jesus promised that there would be persecution, so it does not do any good to attempt to pray for it to be removed. Believers are not on this earth for comfort or self. They are there to do God’s word–proclaim the Gospel message to every person. This is to be done regardless of the persecution.
It takes boldness to stand up and proclaim Jesus when under persecution. God will give that boldness, because that is what He wants a believer to do.
As you are going through tough situations and persecutions in life, pray a different prayer. Do not pray to get out of the situation, but that God would give you His boldness to be His witness and proclaim His message to this lost world.
It is in that boldness that people will hear the gospel message and lives will be changed.
What is your prayer about today?
I pray today that God will give you His boldness to be a witness; that God will give you strength to speak His words to this world; that God will remove all fear of persecution; and that God will touch many lives through your life.