The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 4:23-31 Peter and John have been released from captivity after their trial before the Sanhedrin. They have been cautioned not to speak in Jesus’ name. They then return to their own people, the other Christians. These are probably just the leaders, as there are over 5,000 Christians in and around Jerusalem at this time.
What response do the Christians have to the opposition shown? First, they count it as an honor to suffer for Christ. Jesus suffered for being faithful to the kingdom of God. It is an honor when the Christian can follow in the footsteps of the Savior. Second, the Christians refer to a place in Scripture which talks about suffering. The nations will rage against Christ and His people. This is to be expected. They remind themselves of the Scriptural truth that it is entirely normal to encounter hostility. Finally, the pray that the Lord will reach out his hand and bring knowledge of salvation to those very people who have endangered their lives. We pray for our enemies, for those who would use us badly.
In many parts of the world today we find Christians responding to persecution in this very same manner. They suffer for their faith. They then are moved to pray for their enemies, those who persecute them. Where this is the attitude of Christ’s people, the Church seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. May the Lord make us ever more faithful to pray for our world, that He would show mercy on even those people who hate him.
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