Will You Take The Stripes?

ENGLISH

And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. — Acts 5:40-42

Well, as we have discovered over many days of devotionals in Acts chapter five, these followers took a stand for Jesus. And God intervenes in their situation, but they are not completely off the hook. We see here they are flogged or beaten.

Flogging was the standard for religious punishment in their time. And this was not your grandmother's spanking. This was a brutal whipping with a calfskin whip. A guilty person would expose their upper torso, be forced to kneel and receive around 40 skin lacerating lashes. Two-thirds were delivered to the back. One-third were delivered to the front. Leaving a person scarred for life as a permanent sign of shame. And on many occasions, people died from this flogging.

But notice how the followers respond. They have two striking responses to the flogging. First, it says they left "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" of Jesus. Their attitude is exactly the opposite of what one would expect. Typically the stripes they bore on their body were a sign of great dishonor and public ridicule. People left visually scared and emotionally shamed for suffering in this way. But they did not see the punishment or wounds in the same way because they suffered for doing right, not wrong. Second, we see this did nothing to alter their mission. They continued to speak in the name of Jesus. In fact, it works to increase their zeal. So basically, the council's efforts to deter the disciples not only did not work, it may have helped.

What we are witnessing here is a faithful few who plow the way for others to believe. These men verbalize the truth, take a stand, accept the punishment, and stay on mission. And the obstacle at this moment is verbal and physical violence that masquerades as religious and political zeal.

Every season of our life will be met by those who use verbal and physical violence to persuade compliance to ways with which oppose the truth. In some cases, the violence and resultant fear and shame might deter us from speaking and acting on mission. Yet, at some point, we all have to learn how to overcome human fear and shame of verbal and physical violence when doing what God requires of us. But the question that this forces us to answer is: Are you willing to take the stripes for Jesus?

And then remember, he did for you.

ASK THIS: Are you willing to take the stripes for standing up for Christ?

DO THIS: Reflect on why or why not (Share this below and let's learn from one another)

PRAY THIS: God, use me to lead the way.

PLAY THIS: He Knows — Jeremy Camp.

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Will you take the stripes

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14 thoughts on “Will You Take The Stripes?

  1. David J says:

    I truly believe I am ready to take the stripes for Jesus. I pray that God would give me strength should that time come.

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  2. Reggie McGahan says:

    My hope is Yes. Ours may not be physical punishment but public shame as being intolerant , uneducated and irrelevant. The truth and the fact of the matter , through every generation God will never be irrelevant .

  3. Rex says:

    Many times I have thought about this over in my course of my life -I wish I could say and unequivocal yes, I don’t know what I’m holding onto

  4. Gary says:

    I have thought about this, at times, since I was born again. I want to believe I would endure a flogging for Jesus. Until that moment happens, I can’t be entirely sure. I pray for the courage and desire to expand God’s Kingdom here on earth, no matter the cost.

  5. Cory B says:

    I think the easy answer is yes… That being said, I know I will never have to endure that type of physical pain for what I believe. I feel like I could handle the first few stripes, but 40? I’m not sure I’m there yet. That’s more intense than anything I’ve ever felt or known.
    I do know that when push comes to shove, whether in person, social media or whatever… I tend to overthink things, I hesitate and then I do nothing. I don’t stand up to be counted and instead worry too much about what others might think. I’ve gotten better about it as my faith has increased, but still much work to be done. Progress, not perfection.

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  6. Rich Thomas says:

    Sometimes I feel like Peter, ready to say I will die for Jesus only to deny Him. Jesus restored Peter and now we see him speaking boldly. God, change me so that I speak boldly in the name of Christ!

  7. Sam says:

    I really am blessed that I have never that I know of, been criticized or felt threatened for believing in Christ. I pray that if I am ever offered the challenge I will be willing to stand in the breach and weather any storm that comes my way.

  8. Brian says:

    Mr Miller thank you for all you do. I am learning so much. Keep it up.
    As for taking a brutal beating for Jesus? I want to say yes. However, how many times a day do we not stand for what is right? Lol at how we vote. Look to what is happening around us. There are so many opportunities to stand for love and truth not just social justice. If I think about all those times when I don’t because of a little questioning for people. I don’t think I am strong enough to do it. Don’t get me wrong I want to but honestly. I not sure I could. That hurts to even say..

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    • Gary says:

      Thanks for your honesty Brian. I can relate. I will pray for all Brothers in Christ to have the willingness and courage to stand up for biblical truth.

  9. W. James Anderson says:

    Well…. The level that they knew Christ and that I do is vastly different. I think sometimes I convince myself for some things to be true by manipulating an idea about Jesus that I have rather than it being that close relationship like these men had. Don’t get me wrong, I believe all of Scripture but the actual close and personal connection like these men had…. I do not. So, whatever version and process that God Himself has in mind for me is what I want. Same with those around me. Now to take lashes?…. Who knows. If I were them and was in the reality of the situation and that culture? I hope so. I probably would. Jesus has been made into so many things since then that all I really want is for people to experience the real One. For His presence to move. I rarely have seen this happen but that doesn’t mean that my contribution hasn’t made a difference. Keep pluggin away man. Keep pluggin 😎

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    • Robert Hayden says:

      Hi James … your honesty is very refreshing both to me and I’m sure to the Lord. The relationship they had is rarely seen today but that could change. They had a spiritual fire that burned white hot. They taught and loved and ministered with their whole heart. Our God wants our WHOLE heart … remember, we are to love the Lord with ALL our heart and soul and mind and strength. How do we do that? That question haunted me for years … then the Lord graciously reminded me … “ having begun by the spirit are we now made perfect by the flesh?” Prayer is the starting point … prayer that lays hold of the feet of Jesus and the Father and does not let go! Prayer that has in it the depths of your heart and persists and increases. Pour out the longings of your heart … seek Him with all your heart and He will draw near to you. In early days you would hear words such as “ unction”. We need a resurgence of men and women with the fire of God in their soul. May you be one of them.

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  10. Ed says:

    HE…. Is the only one that has never failed. He is the creator. He died for me… if not for Him than for whom?

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    • Jason Mueller says:

      Today, I want the people around me to know that I am a Christian and Jesus is Lord over my life and my families. Lord protect me and my family and guide us each day for your Glory!

  11. SHELDON Bullard says:

    In my heart i feel ready, it is my prayer that when the time comes i be found faithful to take the stripes no only in word but also in deed.

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