Today’s Reading: Acts 4:1-2 (NIV)
1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
I first learned about politics and religion at home. Our father put his foot down about discussing either topic, unless of course, he had something in particular that he wanted to share. Daddy was the only one allowed to express his point of view and it was expected that we would all completely agree with him. Our mother made it clear that we were to show respect for our father’s opinions by not challenging him. This basically meant we were not allowed to ask questions or comment, or even hint that we may feel differently. She felt it was better to keep the peace within our family inasmuch as possible. Are you the peacemaker or the pot stirrer in your house? I find it intriguing that even after two thousand years, not much has changed culturally when it comes to working through our religious and political differences of opinion. We do not have to look far to see the distinct correlations between the early church and our cultural worldview today. Flip on any news television channel or open a breaking news website online, and watch the religious and political wars raging on and on in high definition.
The Sadducees and Chief Priests were furious with Peter and John, stirring up the crowds with what they believed to be pure blasphemy. They thought the problem with Jesus had been resolved when he was put to death by the Roman soldiers just outside the city gates. Rumors that Jesus resurrected from the grave continued to spread around town. His body had, after all, disappeared from the tomb on the third day after his execution. The Roman government wanted nothing more than to see this new spiritual fire quenched immediately. The body of new Christian believers continued to grow in exponential numbers. They insisted that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, and He proved it when He physically rose from the dead. The Sadducees knew if they could not stop this religious frenzy, they stood to lose their religious traditions and beliefs, along with all the financial support received from a corrupt Roman government. It is no wonder they pursued Christ’s new disciples with a vengeance.
At home, in school and at work, we are taught to respect diversity, treading lightly on each others’ points of view; often, we keep silent in an effort to maintain some semblance of peace. Peter and John saw something far greater than maintaining the status quo inside the temple gates. Because they knew that Jesus had been given all authority in heaven and on earth by the Father, they were compelled to follow His great commission and go, make disciples of all the nations. For them, this started at home. They longed for all people, and most importantly, their Jewish brothers living in Jerusalem, to come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They were completely convinced by Jesus’ teaching and in the power of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and because of this Truth, Peter and John refused to remain silent.
If you had the key to heaven in your hand, would you choose to hide it away in your back pocket just to keep peace with others who may believe differently? Would you withhold the love of Christ from your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers? We must learn how to share our faith without attacking one another, by simply by sharing what Jesus Christ has done in our own lives, allowing the Holy Spirit power to do the rest.
Because of the way in which I was raised, it has been an ongoing and personal struggle for me to learn how to effectively share Christ with the ones who do not yet know Him. I have found that the best way for me to express my personal faith is to simply share what Jesus Christ has done for me. I know that without His grace and forgiveness, I would be forever separated from the Father. I cannot imagine living this life without His love to guide and direct me. I would not want anyone else to miss out on the One relationship that has truly become my life song.
If you are seeking Truth today in the midst of a political and religious tug of war, pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to you. Read His words; learn about His life song. I believe that you will find everything you have been looking for in Christ alone.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2009, Deb Spaulding
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