Ever since I became a Christian, I’ve been fascinated by the Book of Acts. In it, Luke chronicles the adventures of Jesus' followers as they tried to figure out how to live for Him after His resurrection. They had known Him for three years in His earthly ministry but now their relationship with Jesus was different and they were part of a supernatural movement that was changing lives everywhere they went. Sounds great, right? God was doing great things through them but they also had to deal with some very real trouble. Today, let's begin a series as we listen together about some of the things that happened to Jesus' followers when they were obeying Him:
Many miracles and wonders were being performed among the people by the apostles. All the believers met together in Solomon's Porch. Nobody outside the group dared join them, even though the people spoke highly of them. But more and more people were added to the group—a crowd of men and women who believed in the Lord. As a result of what the apostles were doing, sick people were carried out into the streets and placed on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. And crowds of people came in from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or who had evil spirits in them; and they were all healed. Then the High Priest and all his companions, members of the local party of the Sadducees, became extremely jealous of the apostles; so they decided to take action. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. (Acts 5:12-17)
This passage starts off the way you and I would like for things to go, right? People were hearing their message of the kingdom of God and believing in Jesus. Crowds of people were coming and were being healed of sicknesses and delivered from demons. That sounds pretty great to me! But then, as often happens, things seemed to go off track. The High Priest, all of his associates and the Sadducees became jealous of the apostles so they had them arrested and put in jail. What do you think of that? Sometimes, you and I can be doing the right thing, but still suffer for it. Has this ever happened to you? I am remembering a time around 1970 when a friend and I had been asked to play acoustic guitars and sing at an event in a Catholic church. I wasn't Catholic, but my friend was, and some nuns who were friends of his family had asked us to play for the event. The priest, however, had not been consulted. He showed up during rehearsal and in a fit of rage, threw us out of the church! Following Jesus doesn't always mean everything will go the way we want it. Sometimes people won't like it. How does it affect you when you get in trouble, but you've done nothing wrong? Tomorrow we'll hear more about what happened to the apostles, but today, remember this: following Jesus is not always easy...even when you're doing the right thing!