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When the church was filled with the power that Jesus promised, they immediately encountered opposition from religious authorities. The claims of the church about Jesus and the resurrection ran counter to the position held by those in power. Those in power were willing to do whatever they needed to do to remain in power, including jailing disciples and threating disciples with violence.
Those in power always think that intimidation is a reliable tool and that is why they are so quick to use it. However the religious leaders quickly learned that the disciples would not be intimidated. The disciples would not remain silent about what they know to be true.
They knew that Jesus was killed because the religious leaders plotted against him and turned him over to Pilate. The disciples knew that Jesus had risen from the grave conquering death and its power over humanity. The disciples knew that Jesus has given them the responsibility to tell the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ. So once released from prison, the disciples went and told the young church about their experience and then they did what the church has done since its inception--they prayed together.
The cooperate prayer of the church is most insightful because it revealed what was on their heart. And what was on their heart was not safety from persecution but courage to be bold in the face of opposition.
There may be no challenge for the church greater than the challenge to be bold and show courage when safety might seem to be the logical choice. It requires boldness for the invisible institution to find its place in the brushes and back woods where blacks told Jesus their whole hearts. It took courage for the church to participate in the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. It will require courage for the church to lead the community out of the pandemic and into a world that will be vastly different than the one we knew. Courage and resurrections go hand and hand, so let’s be courageous so we can live again.
Published on Monday, May 11, 2020 @ 8:23 PM EDT