JESUS’ PRESENCE [ACTS 5:34-42]
YOU can just imagine how amazed members of the Sanhedrin must have felt. The apostles had already been brought before them once, and they had warned them to stop teaching about Jesus. But, preferring to listen to God rather than men, the apostles disregarded the warning and continued preaching. Looking at them now, perhaps the Sanhedrin thought the apostles had gone mad.
But we know better. The apostles’ perseverance testifies to the power of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Jesus’ presence brings a peace that the world cannot give, a peace beyond understanding and circumstance. It remains with us even in the most difficult of times. It enables us to overcome any fear or anxiety or desire for revenge. The apostles were so filled with love for Jesus that even insults and harsh physical punishment could not take away their peace.
Gamaliel correctly noted that false movements die out with the death of their leaders. The apostles’ reaction to their beating showed that Jesus, their leader, was indeed still with them. What human leader could inspire such courage and joy in the face of persecution? What human leader could motivate normal, ordinary men to such heroic generosity and service? What besides the power of God could transform uneducated fishermen into influential religious leaders? This is what happens when ordinary men and women are empowered by an extraordinary God!
Do you want to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The need for evangelization has never been so great. “The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is constantly on the increase,” Saint John Paul II wrote in “Mission of the Redeemer”. Do you find yourself filled with fear and anxiety when you are faced with an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus? Remember the apostles! The same Holy Spirit that filled them is available to each and every one of us. Ask Jesus to give you His courage, his confidence, His peace, and His joy; then wait and see how powerfully He moves in and through you.
Jakarta, 2 May 2014
A Christian Pilgrim