Ruminations in Theology


Rejoicing, While Suffering For Jesus Christ! “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”  Acts 5:41 Many times preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ will result in suffering and that suffering will occur in various ways.  In fact, all Christians ought to expect this type of suffering (2 Tim. 3:12, 1 Pet. 4:12-19).  For powerful examples of suffering, I refer to the book of Acts.  Which brings a sense of awe of the Apostle’s courageousness, tenaciousness, and fortitude.  They endured horrendous persecution for sake of the Gospel, yet continued to press on.  Obeying God, regardless of the numerous perilous situations they encountered at the hands of the Jewish leaders or others.  Suffering came in many forms; they were maligned, falsely accused, threatened, arrested, severely beaten, imprisoned, etc (Acts 4:3, 17-8, 5:18, 40, 16:22-23). Peter and John were illegally jailed for preaching Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and were ordered by the Jewish leaders to refrain from preaching about Jesus Christ.  Realizing to whom Peter and John ultimately held allegiance to, they disregarded the command and continued to proclaim Jesus.  When arrested a second, they were brought to testify before the ruling body of the temple, the Sanhedrin; where they declared; “…We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  They knew disobedience to those men would result in severe punishments, but faithfully believed obedience to God transcended obedience to men.  So as a result their choice for God, they suffered tremendous persecution   Amazingly, all their suffering was because of righteousness! Moreover, Peter asseverates that faithful believers must not only expect to suffer for Christ’s sake, but to also “rejoice” in that suffering (1 Pet. 2:21, 4:13, Acts 5:41).  An example of this can be found in the fifth chapter of Acts; “…they flogged them (the Apostles) and ordered them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then released them.  So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:40-42-emphasis added).  Also, when Paul and Silas were severely beaten with rods and imprisoned for proclaiming Christ, they sang hymns of praise to God! (Acts 16:22-25)   Can you imagine enduring a painful, blood-spattering beating for preaching that salvation is only through Jesus Christ?  But, what is even more mind-boggling, is rejoicing afterwards!  This is encouraging to read, knowing there are many in...

Read More

Paul, Stoned! But encouraged the brethren! “…they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.” Acts 14:19b Paul, having just healed a lame man, so captivated the people of Lystra, that they extolled him and Barnabas as incarnate gods (Acts 14:8-11). But, envious and disbelieving Jews came from Iconium and Antioch and persuaded the multitude to rebel against them. Erroneously convinced, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead (Acts 14:19). But, miraculously, he arose that same day and entered into the city with his other disciples. The very next day, he and Barnabas traveled approximately fifty miles to the city of Derbe v. 20. This amazing feat was accomplished because the Lord performed a supernatural divine healing.  For Paul was violently and brutally “stoned” and most likely a bloody pulp. And obviously death by stoning was extremely harsh, agonizing way to be murdered, let alone surviving such an ordeal.  But, what is even more amazing then Paul’s miraculous survival, is the fact that he devotedly proclaimed the Gospel immediately upon arriving in Derbe and made many disciples there. From Derbe, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch; the very cities responsible for nearly killing Paul! v. 21. One could appropriately speculate, the Jews unsuccessful at murdering Paul the first time, were exceedingly furious and desirous for the opportunity of having a second chance at murdering him. So, why did Paul return to these hostile and pernicious venues? Most believers, if not all, would have probably fled fast and far from such perilous environments, opting not to go near them ever again. But Paul didn’t, he courageously chose to venture back, dangerously placing his life at risk. Perhaps to encourage the brethren in each city, who might have witnessed or heard of the pandemonium which culminated in Paul’s stoning.  Also Paul’s devotion and desire to proclaim the Gospel.  Paul abided in the faith, declared; “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” v. 22b. We can glean from these passages that Paul’s courageous return, demonstrated an unwavering trust in God and belief in God’s power to perform miracles. Paul was a literal paradigm of encouragement for those disciples to witness, and to exude that same trust in God themselves. Furthermore, his return would have served to encourage the brethren, who became discouraged from Paul’s violent rejection; contemplating, in that situation, darkness overcame light.  So, in essence, Paul demonstrated the fortitude and unrelenting amelioration of the church (Matt. 11:12); that it cannot not be thwarted by evil unbelief! Even under severe persecution, the Lord Jesus Christ earnestly declared, evil shall not...

Read More
Page 2 of 212