AMIDST PERSECUTION Part III

THE FIRST PERSECUTION
Leslie M. John

 

“Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:2-4)

The boldness of Peter and John waxed strong as they spoke unto people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Priests, the captain of the temple, and Sadducees were grieved when they preached through Jesus Christ the resurrection from the dead. They were all greatly perturbed to hear about resurrection and life after death. Sadducees did not believe that life exists after death.

One great comfort Christians, who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, have is that the soul of believer never perishes but lives eternally with Lord. In Lord Jesus Christ is salvation and resurrection and everlasting life. We will see Him face to face and live with Him forever and ever.

Apostle Paul explains elaborately in 1 Corinthians 15:12-58 about resurrection. When our corruptible bodies put on incorruption, and our mortality turns into immortality, then we will say “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?   The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (cf. Isaiah 25:8; Hebrew 11:29)

The preaching of this fact was not pleasing to the jealous authorities, who were gradually losing their importance in public life, as more and more people believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They laid hands on Peter and John and held them captive until the next day. Their efforts to inhibit the preaching of the Gospel did not prevail over the tremendous wave of the power of the message of Christ and resurrection was taught to the people. The result was seen when the number of the men, who believed in Lord Jesus were about five thousand.

The rulers, the elders, scribes, Annas the high priest, and Caiphas, John, Alexander and the entire clan of the high priest gathered the next day at Jerusalem. They set Peter and John in their midst and questioned them by what power or by what name they healed the lame man, who was impotent in his legs from birth.

When Jesus was on this earth he taught not to fear those who have power over the body, but fear the One, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. God’s grace is enough to suffer persecution and the scripture says blessed are those who are persecuted.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10)

All that a man, who persecutes, can do is to destroy the fleshly body of the persecuted ones. Although we do not have the details as to whether the persecuted suffer pain or not, in all probability the persecuted ones do not suffer the pain but are protected; who knows! God can kill the pain.

The Lord gave a clear consolation and said, fear the one who is able to destroy soul and body. No man can destroy a believer’s soul.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28)

Peter, who was filled with Holy Spirit witnessed to them boldly…

“…Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. (Acts 4:8-10)