On Sunday we welcomed home an officer in the Air Force, my friend, after his six-month deployment to the Middle East. At the close of the service he had a special surprise. He called me to the front and presented me with a U.S. flag. The accompanying certificate stated that “the flag was flown in December in my honor, aboard an US aircraft during combat missions.” As the tears came, I thought, “I’m not the one who deserves honor. It’s the soldiers who risked their lives fighting ISIS.”
Combating terrorism, setting cities free, freedom itself. These are all causes worth risking our lives for, but for me there is a cause far higher than my commitment to my country, and the account about Peter and John teaches me a proper priority when it comes to my patriotism and my commitment to the Name.
Gamaliel, a wise Jewish rabbi, had just eloquently spoken in the Sanhedrin and saved Peter and John’s lives. When the Council brought them back in, note how the powerful religious rulers in first century Jerusalem treated them.
“The Sanhedrin summoned the Apostles, beat them, and commanded them not to speak in the Name of Jesus. Then they released them. Indeed, they left rejoicing from their face-to-face hearing before the Sanhedrin. Why? Because they were considered worthy to be dishonored for the sake of the Name. Every day in the Temple and from house to house they were not stopping their teaching and proclamation of the Good News about the Messiah, Jesus.” Acts 5:40-42
LORD, I pray today for my brothers and sisters in areas of the world where believers in Jesus are taking a lot more than a beating for you. Give boldness and cause the Gospel to penetrate hearts. Put leaders in place that will not use bullying tactics and threats. Thanks for freedom of religion and speech in our country. Help me to use this freedom to get out the truth about the only Name who can legitimately be called Savior.
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