Nothing to Stop Us, Part 2. Facing Unimaginable Odds. Part 24b


The locks of Falkirk 

Last time we discovered that the high priest and his entourage were highly jealous of those Christians who were so popular in the streets of Jerusalem. The apostles were arrested and sent to prison; however, that same night, God, opened the doors of that very prison, and the apostles went back to the temple courts to testify about the Messiah.

When the high priest appeared at the prison the next day, he was puzzled that the prisoners were gone. Just gone! Vanished! His blood pressure must have gone way off the scale: "Incompetence!"

He was even more puzzled when he found out that: "The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people." (Acts 5:25b, NIV2), but "They feared that the people would stone them." (Acts 5:26b, NIV2) and because of that no one tried to use force on the apostles.

The high priest immediately reprimanded them: "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name . . . Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." (Acts 5:28, NIV2)

Boldly the apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29b, NIV2). Clearly God had told them to boldly testify. The destiny of all these men and women depended on their testimony. They were living witnesses: "Of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32, NIV2). They could not remain mum. They were truly fearless!

Again the high priest's blood as well as that of his entourage boiled: "When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death." (Acts 5:33, NIV2) This battle of control was quickly turning sour.

Seemingly out of nowhere, an unexpected ally, the Pharisee Gamaliel, brought sense to this all. He warned the high priest: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:35-39, NIV2)

So true! The high priest couldn't rebuff such logic, so he flogged the apostles and insisted that they: "Not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go." (Acts 5:40b, NIV2)

Instead of anguish and despair, the apostles: "Left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name." (Acts 5:41, NIV2). We sure could learn a thing or two from these disciples. They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was truly the Christ. After all, they had experienced Jesus fully, and once His love fills us up, we can't help but testify.

The disciples rejoiced. They had found their purpose in God. Their reality was geared on our Abba. They trusted Him way more than all the spiritual authorities combined. They were experiencing Him fully, and this drove them to boldly declare the truth.

In life, all creatures have a very specific purpose. While in Falkirk, Scotland, we discovered an unusual creature that lives on lock gates: the freshwater sponge. Its appearance looks like a flat, brownish, yellowish or even greenish pancake (albeit, not too appetizing!) These sponges are actually quite useful. They are giant underwater filters, pumping gallons of water through their bodies on a daily basis. That's their purpose in life, and no one could ever stop them from doing their purposeful task.

We, too, once we experience Jesus fully, cannot stop from testifying about His love. Who could ever stop someone in love from talking about that special person? This is even truer when we encounter the subliminal love from the One who willingly died on a cross, so that we could live purposefully for eternity.

Our perspective of reality is what will motivate us. Either we worry, or we trust in the One who will always come through for us.

What is your purpose in life?

Rob Chaffart

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