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A GREAT PERSECUTION AROSE AGAINST THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM

08 May

Today’s First Reading: Acts 8:1-8 – 3rd WEEK OF EASTER: Wednesday, 8 May 2019

It is indeed amazing that since the beginning of time, Satan has tried to frustrate God’s plan – but always unsuccessfully. Let’s now consider today’s reading. A great persecution in Jerusalem may been driven most of the Christians out of Jerusalem and scattered Christians throughout Judea and Samaria – but it didn’t halt the preaching of the Gospel!

Philip, for instance, simply went on to Samaria, where he took up once more his commission to share the Good News. Consider also the story of Adam and Eve. It was through the serpent’s temptation that they fell from grace and were ejected from Eden. But that victory for the forces of evil did not bring Gods plan to an end. God turned around and used the first sin as an opportunity to give the human race His greatest gift – the gift of His Son. As an ancient Easter prayer proclaims: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam that has brought forth so great a redeemer!”

Finally, consider Jesus’crucifixion itself. At the moment of His death, it seemed that the devil had won a sweeping victory. Jesus had been totally discredited by the religious leaders of Israel, and just about all of His followers had abandoned Him. It couldn’t get much worse than this. But, in fact, Jesus’ death broke the devil’s power over humanity; His resurrection reopened heaven’s gate for us.

Philip and all the other apostles learned that God simply will not be stopped. Throughout the Book of Acts, we see how deeply committed He is to bringing His plan of salvation to fulfillment – both in the world and in every believer’s life. So when it feels as if life is buffeting you from every direction, or when you feel discouraged, ponder God’s power and His promises to you. Place yourself at the entrance to Jesus’ empty tomb and know that His resurrection is your resurrection as well. Let God remind you that all things are possible with Him and that even opposition ultimately serves His glorious purposes.

Jakarta, 8 May 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

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