We rejoice over God’s miraculous freeing of the apostles from prison – as we should! But sometimes I overlook the fact that even though God rescued them, the men were flogged, or caned, beaten with a stick before the religious leaders were done with them.
This is only one of countless atrocities the apostles experienced as they diligently spread the Gospel of Jesus and established the Church. Being a Christian, especially a vocal Christian, came with some tough stuff.
Gamaliel was right. If these men had struck out on their own, decided to make up a religion to counter the Jewish religion, it probably would have died a natural death. Who in their right mind would be beaten and/or killed to protect a lie?
But the disciples didn’t just stop because things got tough. They even counted it a joy, a privilege to take the beatings for Jesus’ sake. They kept preaching the Gospel, wearing the bruises.
The same Gospel they preached is still being preached today. We in the States still can preach it loud and strong without fear for our lives or the lives of our children. That’s not the case everywhere in this world. People are being mistreated and killed for sharing the Gospel, just like they were in the early days of the Church. But the Gospel keeps going because those people are willing to endure unimaginable hardships.
It makes me wonder what I’d be willing to endure to keep the Gospel going.