The others [on the council] accepted [Gamaliel's] advice [to let the Jesus-movement run its course to see if it was really the work of God]. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.
— Acts 5:40-41 NLT
Wow! I admire the spunk and tenacity, along with the passion and faith, of these early disciples. We see something similar in the passion and faith of the apostle Paul throughout his ministry (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Suffering was not just a hardship; it was an honor. These early disciples considered it a precious honor to suffer disgrace, similar to the sufferings of their Lord. Do we? Or, have we come to expect God to spare us from all hardship, suffering, and burdens? Since Jesus is our hero, shouldn't we expect that being conformed to be like him probably involves some suffering and hardship? After all, Jesus' opponents abused, ridiculed, beat, and crucified him!
Almighty God, I confess to you that I would love to live my life without hardship, suffering, or persecution. I know this desire is selfish and unrealistic, but I feel I should be honest with myself and with you, dear Father. Recognizing this selfishness awakens my heart to those who are my brothers and sisters in need and under persecution today. Deliver them. Open my eyes so I can help them. And, dear Father, as I support them, strengthen my faith for the times when suffering, hardship, and persecution may come my way. I want to be faithful to Jesus, no matter what happens in my life. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Colossians 1:24-29; 2 Timothy 4:1-8
- 1 Peter 2:19-25, 3:13-17
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Wednesday, March 17, 2021
About This Devotional
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.