The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.
The guards go and collect the apostles, bringing them before the council. The high priest says, “We ordered you not to teach in the name of Jesus.” Peter replies, “We must obey God, not man.”
The high council decides to kill them, but Gamaliel urges caution. He tells them to leave the men alone. If it is just a thing born out of people, it will be overthrown, but if they oppose it they could be opposing God.
The council has the apostles flogged. They leave rejoicing that God counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.
In the west, we have a phenomenon called “Consumer Christianity.” This describes an attitude where people come to church expecting their needs and desires to be met.
This is so different to the attitudes of the apostles who counted suffering as something to be celebrated.
I can’t imagine the pain of being flogged. We do all that we can to avoid pain. I don’t like having blood samples taken much less being attacked by someone wanting to inflict pain.
What do the apostles think of this?
They rejoice! No self-pity here! They see something in the spiritual realm that corrects a purely physical perception.
They rejoice that God counts them worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. The spiritual elite are the people who suffer for the name of Jesus. We might be impressed by preachers who live in big houses and fly private jets. God is impressed by those who are strong enough to thrive in suffering for His sake.
On earth money and influence mark the powerful.
In heaven humility and suffering mark the spiritual.
In all things, God’s standards are at odds with those of the world. There will always be a conflict in values.
Who will I let define my value systems?
Lord I see that your followers must see things differently to the world. May I become one who rejoices in suffering, should that be necessary. Amen.