Points to Ponder Week of 3/19/23

We often like the promises of Scripture that focus on blessings and deliverance. We cling to passages like Jeremiah 29:11 which promise that God has plans and a purpose for us to bless us and prosper us and not to harm us. But we sometimes miss the context as we hope for the promise. The promise and good and valid and important but the context is key as well. You see in that passage God is prophesying that Israel was going to be exiled, and that was going to mean a lot of pain and suffering for people. But the promise in the context is, that exile is not the end of the story. In fact, it points to the fact that God has a purpose that encompasses and goes beyond suffering.
Jesus was well aware that His people would suffer. In fact, He essentially promises it will happen in John 16:33. “ I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” In Acts 5:17-41 we find this promise coming true. At the same time, we find that the response of the Apostles is remarkable. As they are leaving the Sanhedrin beaten up but also having experienced a miraculous escape from jail they must have had Jesus’ words in mind. They had experienced the fact that Jesus was more powerful than the authorities and they had no need to fear. At the same time, they had been beaten and had experienced very real suffering at the hands of the Sanhedrin. With these realities in mind, Luke reports in Acts 5:41-42, “Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name. Every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” As we face moments of suffering let’s keep in mind Jesus’ promise that the suffering of this world is temporary and He has conquered this world. Let’s follow the example of the Apostles and gather together in various ways to know and proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah and whatever might come, He has overcome.

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