Day 31: Rejoicing About Suffering

Acts 5:34-41 :

But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the apostles out for a little while. He said to them, “You men of Israel, be careful concerning these men, what you are about to do. For before these days Theudas rose up, making himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the enrollment, and drew away some people after him. He also perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. Now I tell you, withdraw from these men, and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown. But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would be found even to be fighting against God!”

They agreed with him. Summoning the apostles, they beat them and commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus’ name.

Here is another powerful piece of evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. The apostles were physically beaten and told not to do what they had to do. I’ve been told at my workplace not to do what I know is right, but I haven’t been beat for it yet. I confess to you that sometimes, I did not responded with “rejoicing,” but with anger.

It is clear that when I respond in anger, I am not filled with the Holy Spirit like these men were. If I had been, I would also rejoice that I was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name. It is by the Holy Spirit that these unnatural feelings of joy and peace occur and this is the Holy Spirit that all believers share.

Notice the good sense that Gamaliel made concerning the followers of Jesus. I find it strange that they agreed but still “beat them and commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus.” It appears that they were out of control of their passions to harm the apostles. Evidently, Gamaliel could see they were acting foolishly.

In Asia today, many incidences of these kinds of things take place against Christians. Many strong believers there are still rejoicing. May God’s Holy Spirit fill us all as we face trials of many kinds so that we can also rejoice over being worthy to do what God has for us to do.