Faith on Fire – Week 4
Hi Everyone! Welcome to another Mummy Meditations Contributor post, and I am so happy to be able to champion and encourage mums from our community to step up and share what God is placing on their hearts. This week we were looking at the verse below, read on to see what three mums have to share on it:
“They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand” Acts 4:3-4
Peter and John have an overnight stay in the local prison.
At a time when people are still fighting for a safe and equal standard of living as a minority group ( B.L.M Movement, modern slavery, genocide – Rohingya / Darfur / Kurdish to name only a few) this highlights that the persecution of minority groups is nothing new. While Peter and John may only have been held overnight, it doesn’t change the fact that they were imprisoned by a group of people from their own community who, in reality, were responsible for their well-being and safety. The Sanhedrin are in fact similar to the politicians we see today who seem caught between doing what is morally right, what is right by man made rules and regulations and what is right by God’s Word. Man-kinds failure to accept God’s word through Jesus has in the past and will continue to lead to the persecution of those whose only failings are to believe in a God of love and forgiveness.
Persecution can however become a driving force for change and as the bible shows us in this verse, the commitment of Peter and John’s faith leads to a massive growth in the number of members of God’s Kingdom.
This must stand as an encouragement to us all today – that to be truly alive and flourishing in our faith in Jesus we need to be prepared to deal with our own persecution: to be ridiculed, questioned and misunderstood by those around us, those closest to us. We need to be ready to speak and show God’s love and explain the actions of Jesus to these people, to be heard by the many so that others may come to know Jesus too.
Peter and John were taken and put in jail because they were preaching the gospel. The priests, captain of the temple guard and Sadducees who put them there didn’t like that so many people were hearing and believing the gospel. They must have thought that this would put an end to it. I love the but in these verses! Despite their attempts to stop the spread of the gospel many people who had heard the gospel believed and the church kept growing!
The discussions we had this week on persecution really got me thinking about why the religious leaders were so opposed to the message of the gospel. Peter and John were bold and open about their faith and it made people stop and listen to what they said. The gospel was changing people’s lives, they were leaving their old lives/religious practices and following Jesus – the religious leaders didn’t like that.
We don’t face the same persecution as the disciples did but the power of the gospel is still the same. The take home for me this week was how bold and open am I about my faith in Jesus – it’s the message that changes lives and people need to hear it as much today as they did in the disciples times.
I’m just reflecting on how we perceive events both from our own small perspective and before we know the end of the story.
While in prison, the men probably had no idea what was happening on the outside.
But, as usual, God was at work both through the good things they’d done and the bad things which had happened to them.
In the long term, this was a small event but a significant step in the growth of the church, of which we are part 2 millennia later!
Our troubles are but temporary and they are being used by God to bring Him glory. We might not be able to see what He is doing or what He will do, but we know He is good and faithful and will do what He has promised.
We continue looking at the lives of the disciples and how the early church operated by meditating on this verse:
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the LORD Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” Acts 4:33-35
Watch the Facebook group for announcements about the Facebook Live discussion as it may be moved to Tuesday night again this week.