Monday, June 10, 2013

Underdog success

Peter's angelic jail break - Artist Unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 12:6-25

TO CHEW ON: "Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied." Acts 12:23,24

When watching sports events, do you often find yourself cheering for the underdog? There is something about a supposedly weaker team or person facing a stronger that arouses our sympathy. Perhaps it's our empathy as well, as we sometimes feel like underdogs ourselves.

In our story, the Christians were definitely in the minority. Compared to the rest of the population they numbered, at this time, probably in the low thousands—a spectacular increase when you consider that the number of disciples on the day of Pentecost was only about 120. Still, hardly a force with which to be reckoned.

Their biggest foes, the Jewish leaders, no doubt thought that it would be only a matter of time before this rogue movement  was stamped out altogether. They even had Herod on their side. He had already killed James and when he saw how it pleased them, he arrested Peter intending to make him next.

But of the gospel's foes hadn't counted on supernatural intervention. Who could stand against angelic interference that caused chains to fall off and an iron gate to "open to them of its own accord"?

And so the tables were turned. Instead of Peter's head on the chopping block, it was those unfortunate soldiers charged with guarding him. And instead of the gospel being the casualty, it was proud Herod.

This is an encouraging story for Christian underdogs today, wherever they are. For the same God who engineered Peter's prison break and Herod's parasites is at work today, seeing to it that the word of God will keep growing and multiplying, no matter how strong the resistance to it or how impressive the forces that oppose it.

PRAYER: Dear God, I take courage from these stories that remind me of how unstoppable the gospel is. When I see my efforts and those of my church and Christians in general meet with resistance, help me, help us, not to take matters into our hands, but leave the 'battle' to You. Amen. 


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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