The following scriptures are not exactly trend-worthy. Perhaps no scriptures are trend-worthy. But these here, for instance, include the kind of scene that would hardly (even at best) nudge our interest. And there is offered nothing near our regular fill of cynicism, skepticism, scandal, spite, malice, sordid gain, or that insatiable lust for back-biting. We are hard to please.
What we do find is a revolutionary response of early church believers to persecution. Less than a year after Jesus of Nazareth has been crucified and rumors of resurrection from the dead float about, there’s been a wrongful incarceration, interrogation, and intimidation of apostles Peter and John at the hands of the Jewish elites. Peter and John have been taken into custody on allegations of speaking about the crucified Jesus of Nazareth and proclaiming a resurrection from the dead for anyone who believes in Him. The charges are true. The response is real — “Many who heard their message believed, repented, and were baptized”(Acts 2:38; 4:4). To be clear, this newly formed society of Jesus followers overwhelms us with praise unto God, repentance from sins, solumn committments to the Christ life, and a self-incriminating faith that leads only to ostrosization from family and friends. More than mere response; this is a revolt!
Acts 4:23-31 23Upon their release, Peter and John returned to their own people and reported everything that the chief priests and elders had said. 24When the believers heard this, they lifted up their voices to God in one accord, saying "Sovereign Lord, You have made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 25You have spoken by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant, our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.' 27In fact, in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate conspired with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed. 28They carried out what Your hand and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats, and enable Your servants to speak Your word with complete boldness, 30as You stretch out Your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." 31After they had prayed, their meeting place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
For us in our day (the grandchildren of this suspect society of Jesus followers) the very same witness is at our mouth at any given moment. Our very lives are miracle. And miracle, on any grounds, only underscores our tremendous value to God. We are loved like infants, commanded like soildiers, tested and proved like seasoned adults, that whether hill or valley, joy or sorrow, saftey or sacrifice, this Jesus of Nazareth “God has made both Lord and Christ”(Acts 2:36) over us. Either this is true or it is not. And no amount of trending can ease the burden of belief upon our own free will. This is our great revolt.
Overwhelmed by such blessed assurance, are we really to plod on with merely our own cares and concerns at heart? Is there not much more at stake than simply our own moral development? No and Yes. The truth in either case is that we are not our own. We are witness evidence of the Divine. God is alive! He has made His home inside us. You and me both have all of God within (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The last thing you would ever want for yourself or for anyone you truly love is to hide this truth under cover. The world around you is dark and pain-weary, and you yourself hold light in your hand. Let it shine. Be one who will not stop talking about all that God has done in your life this year, this week, this day. Be one who lifts up his/her voice for something that will never fade away.