Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keep on Preaching

 Acts 5:40 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. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

40 καὶ προσκαλεσάμενοι τοὺς ἀποστόλους δείραντες παρήγγειλαν μὴ λαλεῖν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ ἀπέλυσαν. 41  Οἱ μὲν οὖν ἐπορεύοντο χαίροντες ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ συνεδρίου, ὅτι κατηξιώθησαν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀτιμασθῆναι, 42  πᾶσάν τε ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ κατ᾽ οἶκον οὐκ ἐπαύοντο διδάσκοντες καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν χριστόν Ἰησοῦν.

If you're an American doesn't this passage really strike you as bizarre?  First of all, they were jailed for preaching.  We aren't there quite yet, though some think we're on that path.  At any rate, you still will not be jailed for preaching the gospel.  Then after a brief discussion the council decided not to stop them because as Gamaliel told them, if it's God's work they can't stop it even if they want to.  They figured that this was just another passing fad and they could let them go.  But just for good measure the council beat them.

When we think of having to ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀτιμασθῆναι we think more in terms of people thinking that we're dumb for believing the gospel.  Or maybe it is the fear of an awkward situation when a coworker puts two and two together as he realizes that in your preaching the gospel you are telling him that he is a hell-bound sinner.  We then get stigmatized as "that Christian guy" and maybe get excluded from all the reindeer games.

Have you been beaten for the gospel?  If you were how eager would you be to get back up and preach again?  These guys still had bleeding wounds and they were χαίροντες.  That's a present active participle.  Being in a state of rejoicing characterized who they were at this time.

Frankly, that is not a popular message today.  It's certainly not a popular one for me.  Yet I see the kind of joy they found in this sacrifice.  They considered it a privilege to suffer like this for the name of Jesus.  What are you willing to go through?

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