“One Year Bible” New Testament Passage
Acts 5:1-42 41
So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:41-42 (NKJV)
There is a strange set of words in this passage: WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME. Wow! That is such a foreign concept to much of society in our day. As a result, it is also a foreign concept to much of the Church in the free world.
Suffering is not a popular topic – and for obvious reasons. Suffering involves pain or difficulty or disadvantage. It is common for us to work very hard to AVOID suffering. Here, however, we find New Testament believers rejoicing that they counted WORTHY of suffering. Amazing!
We could say much about the entire subject of suffering, but I will only make a few brief points here.
1) As surely as anyone decides to follow Jesus, that will propel him or her into SPIRITUAL WARFARE. You automatically have an enemy who does not play fair. Therefore YOU WILL PAY A PRICE TO FOLLOW JESUS. That price may be misunderstanding by former friends, or simply intensified spiritual attack.
2) God often changes negative circumstances in our lives when we come to Jesus, but sometimes He DOES NOT change things. There is a particular set of responsibilities (some negative) that you are CALLED TO CARRY. Your joy will not come by escaping these circumstances, but IN THE MIDST of them.
3) Suffering and negative things that happen to you may not be a manifestation of God’s perfect, pre-ordained plan, but it is ALWAYS a tool in His hand to cause you to shine. Therefore, we don’t always thank God FOR everything, but we do thank God IN everything.
In this passage, the disciples were rapidly losing everything they owned. They were being imprisoned and impoverished. They were beaten and put to shame. By outward standards, it was not a fun day! But they saw God’s hand. And as a result, ground was taken. Instead of losing, they gained. THE PURPOSES OF GOD INCREASED. It can be the same for each of us – NO MATTER WHAT!