Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Getting Stoned for Jesus

(Reposted from 2/7/09 and 7/21/13)
Today’s Bible Reading:  Leviticus 4-6, Acts 14
Topic: Courage Under Fire

SCRIPTURE:  Acts 14:19-20

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. (Acts 14:19-20 NKJV)


I’ve known people who have been stoned, especially back in the 60’s—but that’s another story altogether J

The Apostle Paul got stoned with real stones here in Acts 14.  I’m always amazed when I read in God’s Word about the persecution the early Christians endured.  Paul especially endured multiple attacks over his lifetime of dedication to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Verse 19 tells of another instance when the evil opposition to Christ attacked; this time with murderous vengeance.  Paul was viciously attacked by an angry mob.  Paul’s head and body became the strike zone at which each one pitched their hardest fast balls.  Only these fastballs were likely baseball sized stones—hard and jagged.  Paul was bloodied, bruised, swollen and unconscious.  He looked dead.  Indeed, he may very well have been dead.  That’s what the mob believed as they dragged his body outside the city limits and tossed him aside without dignity like refuse not even worthy of burial. 


I wonder, if I were so attacked, would I have the persistence of Paul to get back up and return to the task of standing up for Christ?  Thank God Christians don’t often face that level of physical attack in America today.  Most Christians, however, cannot be unaware that animosity against us has been starkly on the rise in recent years.  In the face of mounting ill-will do we shrink in our convictions to share our faith with the world?  Will we (will I) have the fortitude and courage to lovingly stand up for Jesus against all opposition?  Will we (will I) resist the urge to strike back rather than to love our enemies?  I submit that we (that I) must!  I submit that it is our (my) mission to behave as Jesus would behave, with courageous determination and love.    


Lord, when I am weak, You are strong.  By Your Spirit may I be endowed with the necessary measure of courage, persistence and love in the face of mounting opposition.
For Your sake and to the building of Your kingdom.  Amen.  -AP

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