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. – Acts 5:40
All the Apostles had to do to avoid a beating was not speak about Jesus. If you read on, they looked at the beatings as an honor. They would look at their wounds and rejoice, for they had been found worthy to suffer as their master and Lord suffered. Of course, we know they did not stop preaching the Word of God. Nearly all of the Apostles died brutally as martyrs.
American Christians are generally free from persecution. But the question is why? Is it because we live in “the land of the free?” Or, is it because we do not speak His name anywhere that would make us uncomfortable? I think back over the years where I spoke boldly in church where others believed like I did. I met with other Christians in life groups inside nice homes and spoke of Him. But what about speaking of Him where His name is not welcome?
I believe many American Christians enjoy their comfortable lives so much that they are afraid to speak outside of comfortable places. I am certainly including myself. The only times I can remember getting into any trouble for my faith is when I’ve spoken up either in a school setting, or in churches that didn’t believe the same as me. Here is the thing: 100% of the time, it was not unbelievers that spoke against me. It was people who said they were Christians. A man who I knew from a hardcore denomination came and told me directly to my face “Stop speaking the Name.” One lady brought me before administration and threatened to “have my job,” for “speaking the Name.” These are just a couple of incidents that I can mention in vague detail because they happened years ago and it doesn’t give anything, any group, or anyone away. The worst part of it all was that it worked in striking me with fear.
The Sanhedrin was a group that believed in God, but they did not believe in the resurrection. They believed in the same God the disciples believed in, they just didn’t believe Jesus was His Son or that He died for their sins. They certainly didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to His Father. For some reason, God followers who don’t believe part or parts of the Bible, or overemphasize parts of the Bible, are mean. As soon as they hear someone with opposing views, they do whatever they have to do to silence them.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to teach here. Maybe just that we need to step out in faith more and speak where we are forbidden to speak. Maybe we need to get into some trouble for our faith. The disciples certainly got into trouble and rejoiced afterwards.
Am I willing to do the same?