Persevering after Persecution
Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. Acts 5:20
suggested further reading: John 16
The apostles are delivered so they might employ themselves in bravely preaching the gospel and courageously provoking their enemies until they valiantly die. The apostles are eventually put to death when the hand of God ceases and they have finished their course. But for now the Lord opens the prison for them so they may be at liberty to fulfill their function.
This is worth noting because we see many people who, having escaped out of persecution, afterward keep silence, as if they have done their duty toward God and are no more to be troubled. Others escape further duty by denying Christ. The Lord does deliver his children to the end, not that they may cease from the course that they have begun, but rather that they might afterward be more zealous.
The apostles might have objected, saying it was better to keep silence for a time, because they could not speak one word without danger. If we are now apprehended for only one sermon, they might ask, how much more shall the fury of our enemies be inflamed if they see us make no end of speaking?
But because they knew that they were to live and to die to the Lord, the apostles did not refuse to do what the Lord commands. So we must always mark what function the Lord prescribes to us. We may be asked to do many things that may discourage us, unless we are content with the commandment of God alone and do our duty, committing the success to him.
for meditation: We are quick to think that our hardships merit a time of peace and ease. But we can see from the apostles’ example that this is not the case at all. Submitting to hardships is so often difficult; let us pray for God’s grace so that we might be spurred on to new and radical obedience by the trials we face.