TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
“Blessed are they
which are persecuted
for righteousness’ sake…”
PERSECUTION FROM THE HIGH PRIEST
The high priest is a remarkable title in the Old Testament (Lev 21:10). Aaron was constantly called “the priest” and would correspond to what is called high priest in the New Testament. His office is ordained for men in things pertaining to God that he might offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He stood for the people to offer up the sacrifices which put the people in proper relation with God (Lev 9) and blessed the people as from God. However, today’s passage describes the high priest opposing the people of God. He was angered by what the Apostles did. He could not see the hand of God performing the miracles through the Apostles.
Filled with indignation: Luke described the high priest as from the sect of the Sadducees. The Sadducees were rationalists. They did not believe in angels and spirits, thus they did not believe in the resurrection (Matt 22:23) which the Apostles preached. They are the modernists and liberals of today’s Christianity. They were jealous of the disciples who could perform signs and miracles. They became envious of the attention the Apostles got from the people. They found themselves losing the reverential adoration of the people as representatives of God. They were not just angry, they were filled with much hatred against the Apostles of Christ.
Forced detention: The disciples were incarcerated in prison. The common prison is the public prison; or the prison for the keeping of common and notorious offenders. The laying of hands was not a description of a gentle action but with the sense of violent beatings as they brought the Apostles into prison. They were targeted because they had done many mighty deeds that caught the attention of the people. The high priest believed he could destabilize the assembly when their leaders were put in prison. He was not aware of the higher invisible hand of the all-powerful God in heaven who controls everything.
Are you ready to face persecution for righteousness’ sake? Will you see the hand of God allowing these things to come into your life?
THOUGHT: Am I living righteously?
PRAYER: Father, prepare my heart to face adversities for Thee.