JOY : Advent Week 3
This third week of #advent is a symbols of #joy and I can’t help but bring my attention to a place after Christ was born. Even after His death. But to a special moment of the early church and one of the earliest histories of persecution of the gospel:
Peter and John and many others had been spreading the gospel, the good news that Christ came and died and rose again to cover our sins with His “once and for all” fulfillment of the law. The corrupt and jealous religious groups who could not accept Christ as Lord persecuted them greatly. They were set before the counsel, thrown into prison, questioned by their leaders and officials, ultimately charging them to not speak of the name of Christ again.
They decline, saying with passion, “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20)
Later, after sharing the gospel clearly with them again, they were beaten and released.
“and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” Acts 5:40-42
Why would one rejoice after being beaten? For this beating was a fulfillment of what Christ said while he was still alive:
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
These words of their risen Savior and Messiah, their best friend and brother, likely flooded into their memory.
Blessed! The kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Great is the reward to come even if persecution happens.
Even if you suffer for His name.
Even when the fiery trials come upon you, don’t be surprised. Count it all joy, my friends, because there is a Savior who has conquered death and the greatest victories to come He holds in His hands.
Let Him hold also your life and trust Him with joy. Don’t be stuck, but run forward knowing His promises for you.