When it comes to persecution, the early disciples of Jesus, even His apostles were spat upon, beaten, stoned, put in prison, and even killed for their faith in Christ. One such time, a few of them were put in prison before an angel released them. It was then that they began to teach again in the temple, but when the high priest saw them, he was very angry. And here is how it all went down. They asked them, “saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.” (Acts 5:28-33) Wow! Such boldness that I have never witnessed before, though I am sure people have died for their faith in the exact same way. Praise God that people continue to declare the name of Jesus, no matter the cost. We are to always remember to obey God over man. This will help us throughout our lives.
Now, at this time, there was a certain man named Gamaliel, who was a Pharisee, that said something very intriguing about what the apostles were doing. And very well helped the high priest understand that these Jesus followers could be for God. To be watchful, lest they kill God’s anointed. Now, in his own words, he said, “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. 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.” (Acts 5:38-42) Amen. Praise God for this man who was a Pharisee and still stood up for God’s holy apostles. My friends, there are other Gamaliel’s out there, even in our day and age. These people may not be entirely for what we are doing but will stand up for us when needed. And even some of them will come to know Jesus because of our great faith. So if you have decided to be God’s witness, let His light shine. Then, will more people see Jesus in us and also be saved.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I am so grateful to be Your witness. There is so much darkness in the world we live in, but a little light can really change the atmosphere. Surely, if You are among more people through the Holy Spirit, then things would be much different. That is why I pray that more people who say they believe in You will join me in the harvest and also witness Your truths to others. The harvest is ripe, but few people are actually out there doing Your will. This is what is so sad, for every day, every hour, and every minute, there are people dying and going to hell. People who could have known You unto salvation have died in their sins. Therefore, they have no more chance to repent. This is why there is such an urgency to declare the good news of the gospel to as many people as we can. Lord, it is my desire to see fewer people go to hell and more people go to heaven. I would love to see hell emptied, but I know this is not possible. So I will do all that I can to warn people of the wrath to come, while leading them safely home to You, Jesus. Yes, Lord, as I call upon them to come to You in preaching and prayer, give them ears to hear You. Then, when I eventually leave them, will they make the decision for themselves to call upon Your Name in prayer. And Lord, lead more people in the harvest in doing the same things. All for Your glory and not our own. We are only Your instruments of hope, that You may do the rest in their lives when we are gone. I believe in You, Lord. I trust in You. I love You. Amen.