“So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.’” (Acts 4:18-20)
From the very beginnings of Christianity, there has always been opposition to the Gospel message. Our first reading today narrates how Peter and John were practically threatened for preaching in the name of Christ. Even today, the spreading of the Gospel continues to face stiff opposition.
Consider the level of persecution Christians face all over the world today both those we see on mainline news media and those happening in the hidden corners of our villages.
Why does the world hate Christians? Jesus answers this question by saying: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20)
Even though the world hates us, Jesus is quite clear with His mandate: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) How do we go into a world that does not want us? How are we to enter into enemy territory without hating them and still win them for God?
How do we influence with Christ without ourselves becoming submerged in the world? This is the mission of the Christian today. No wonder Jesus said: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. Wisdom must go side by side with innocence purity of heart.
Our world today needs men and women like Peter who are not afraid of proclaiming the truth with boldness and determination. Men and women who are never discouraged regardless of the resistance they face to the Gospel of Christ. Men and women who preach not just with words but with their very lives in a way that will positively affect the lives of people living in darkness. Do not let anyone silence you.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, use me as your instrument of evangelization. Amen.
(Bible Study: Acts 4:13-21, Psalm 118 and Mark 16:9-15).