Nothing to Stop Us. Facing Unimaginable Odds. Part 24a

Flying over North Africa 

The time after Jesus' resurrection brought many to believe in the cause. Jesus was so real to them that, "As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed." (Acts 5:15-16, NIV2)

Still, "No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people." (Acts 5:13, NIV2) Interestingly enough, one could only wonder why? "Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number." (Acts 5:14, NIV2)

They believed, but many did not dare to join them. Let's see what caused such a fear: "Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy." (Acts 5:17, NIV2) It's quite clear that the priests looked at the apostles as their competition. No one would dare to be in such a position in those days. It would end in certain death!

"They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail." (Acts 5:18, NIV2) Competition was a no no! Let's eliminate all attempts! It's true that at times the worldly powers have their own way, still our Father is way above all of them: "But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out." (Acts 5:19, NIV2) Truly God doesn't honor jealousy. The apostles had a more urgent task to perform that shimmering in the slimy pot of the High Priest's jealousy.

"'Go, stand in the temple courts,' he said, 'and tell the people all about this new life.'" (Acts 5:20, NIV2)

How would we have reacted if we had been in the apostles' shoes? Would we have gone to the temple courts, the very domain of the jealous High Priest? We could have easily lost our lives that way!

Still, "At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people." (Acts 5:21a, NIV2)

Nothing could stop these disciples of the Most High. Jesus was their reality, and they couldn't help but follow His advice. This is what happens when we fall heads over heels in love with the One who willingly died on a cross for us. Once we realize who He is, His reality is way more important to us than all the treasures of this world, or even all the jealousy on this planet! Nothing can faze us, as Jesus stands beside us.

We can compare this to what Lieutenant T. A. Nicol MC of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders did, when he found himself on enemy territory in North Africa in 1943. When Tobruk fell into the hands of the Nazis, he was in deep trouble. Still, his sole reality was the freedom that existed outside of the enemy's territory. He would do anything to avoid capture and remain free, and he sure did, with quite unconventional means! He "borrowed" an enemy truck at knife-point and followed a German staff car through a minefield, ending up at the British lines. His reality drove him to freedom, literally! Moreover, he was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.

The same is true for those of us who follow in Jesus' steps. If Jesus is real to us, nothing will stop us. His love will motivate us to persist and accomplish what God has laid on our hearts. Nothing can stop us!

Imagine the face of the High Priest when he found out what happened to his prisoners. We will find out more about it in our next devotional.

Finding ourselves in a tough bind? Rejoice! It is our opportunity to shine like Jesus, our reality.

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Rob Chaffart

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