When Opposition Rages Against Us
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. — Acts 5:33
So let's take a deeper look into the context of this intense moment. The apostles were standing before the religious ruling council. And there were two types of religious leaders on this council — Sadducees and Pharisees. Each group has slightly different views. The first difference between the two was primarily theological. Sadducees denied the spiritual reality of resurrection from the dead and the afterlife (and with it concepts like heaven, hell, angels, and demons). This means they were largely secular in their practice of religion. The Pharisees, in comparison, were much more invested in these spiritual realities. They do believe in the resurrection from the dead and the afterlife. The second difference between the two was primarily political. Sadducees were aligned socially with the aristocracy and families of noble birth. Thus they had some strong ties to the Roman Government and a vested interest in their agendas. This is probably why the Roman government selected Annas and Caiphas — they were Sadducees. On the other hand, the Pharisees were more aligned to common Jewish culture. They were mostly small business owners from families with enough money to get schooling to climb their way into a place of influence. As a result, what happens here is that the Sadducees on the council become enraged with the apostles. They see the apostles and their message as a threat to everything that they believe theologically. But it's the public nature of what they are teaching that will put them at odds with the aristocracy of the Roman government. So they want to kill them.
Now let's step out of their time back into our time.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be prepared for the opposition that these men faced. While many of us have never known persecution, the tide is shifting. There is momentum mounting against biblical truth, and at some point, it might become enraged. Sound biblical truth will be opposed by the theological diversions and political positioning of others. And as we speak up about these biblical convictions, we will be met with forceful opposition that will seek to put us down. At first, much of this will happen through shaming and social dismissal. But eventually, it will put us at odds with churches, political movements, and social groups. And we will find that at some point, we must function independently from these structures so that we can speak up and stand up about biblical truth in the name of Jesus.
I think this presents a great question for followers. It's this. Are you functioning independently enough from the systems of the world that you can speak up and stand up for Jesus Christ? I would spend some time thinking about this today. Consider how you can more effectively speak up and stand up for Jesus. Because eventually, the system will rage against us and seek to put us down.
ASK THIS: In what area of your life do you feel you lack the freedom to speak about Jesus Christ?
DO THIS: Find a creative way to speak about Jesus in this area.
PRAY THIS: God, give me the courage to speak about freedom in you!
PLAY THIS: Speak — Bethel Music.
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