Text: Acts 3:12-26
To not be afraid of persecution
To be confident in God’s sovereign care
For Christians under threat and their tormentors
THE THEOLOGIAN TERTULLIAN famously wrote “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” and it is hard to argue with him as you read through the pages of Acts. The extraordinary events surrounding Jesus must be told but being a witness—which is what the word martyr means—oftentimes brings the witness into conflict with those who do not want to know that Jesus is Lord.
This speech by Peter highlights the tension within Acts between witness and persecution. Acts portrays the spreading of the message about Jesus as an almost irresistible force: the Holy Spirit blows where it will, and like a mighty flood, it changes the spiritual terrain forever. Opposition and persecution spring up in response both from authorities and from neighbors. Acts shows the truth of Tertullian’s statement: hostility and abuse from others becomes catalysts for growth. The disciples themselves grow in faith as they experience God’s care in the midst of persecution; others are gathered by the Spirit as they hear the witnesses’ testimony.
With Peter and John as our guide, let us never be dismayed at suffering for the name of Jesus Christ. We are witnesses, the same as they were long ago. Under the care of our Lord, suffering becomes both a way for us to clarify and strengthen what we believe and how we will live, and our testimony serves as seed that multiplies among our neighbors, to God’s glory.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks