I hope you have been enjoying the mini-series A.D. that has been airing on Sunday nights at 8pm on N.B.C. In this series we have been seeing how even in the midst of persecution, Jesus’ disciples, the apostles of the early church continued to be obedient to Jesus’ commission to be His witnesses.
NATIONAL DAY of PRAYER THURSDAY @ 12 noon on the Ellis County Courthouse Steps
They faced fierce opposition from the religious and political leaders of the time and many were thrown in jail on multiple occasions and some were martyred for their faith. Yet, through the power of the Holy Spirit, these first followers called Christians experienced boldness, proclaimed the truth, and received empowerment through God’s grace.
Their circumstances were full of discouragement, questions, and impossibility but they didn’t focus on that, instead they concentrated on following the Holy Spirit’s leading. As a result, thousands of men and women put their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, they were healed of their afflictions, observed many miracles and experienced the freedom that comes from receiving Christ’s forgiveness. The earliest disciples accepted the mission they were given to spread this Good News, the Gospel, of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection to all the earth beginning with their own city. They did so with an unstoppable conviction and as a result, God’s salvation story has been written and proclaimed continually until today. Just think about the growth of Christ’s church.
In the 50 days following Jesus’ crucifixion the number of Disciples grew from12 followers to 120 men and women and then in response to Peter’s Holy Spirit inspired sermon on the day of the Pentecost festival in Jerusalem, 3000 people became believers in the power of Christ’s resurrection. But it didn’t stop there. We are told in the Book of Acts that even though the Disciples were given explicit instructions by the religious authorities to not speak in the streets that
We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching ...”Acts 5:28
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” Acts 6:7
The Apostles filled Jerusalem with their teaching about Jesus even in the face of great danger. Interestingly, the more resistance, threats, and persecution Peter and the apostles came up against, the more persistent and empowered they became. Throughout this week in this blog we will look at the power of persecution and how it continues to propel a great movement of God even today.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,