Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous

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But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority.’” (Acts 5:29)

Based on the miraculous deliverance of Peter and John from the prison, one would have thought that the Sanhedrin would just leave them alone. However, as we read today, Peter and John are back before the council again answering questions.

Indeed, as our Psalmist today sings: “Many are the afflictions trials of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” In truth, as Jesus earlier warned, we are sent as sheep in the midst of wolves.”

Just as darkness hates the light, so do the people of the world hate the children of God but we cannot afford to be quiet or compromise. We must always remember the fact that we do not belong to this world, that is, we must be prepared to die for the sake of God. This is what fuelled Peter’s courage when he boldly said to the High Priest: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

In uttering these words, Peter did not mind being killed at that very moment. He is no longer the fearful man who could not even defend Jesus before a little girl on the night of Jesus’ arrest. Peter is such a transformed man now.

Unfortunately, many of us are still like the Old Peter – we are still too scared to die for our faith, and we keep denying Jesus by condescending to sin for fear of losing our life, losing our friends, or losing money. As Jesus asked us: “What shall it profit if we gain the whole world only to lose the only thing that matters – our soul.” (Matthew 8:36-37)

In our Gospel passage today, Jesus says to Nicodemus. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God rests upon him.” (John 3:36). Peter must have born this statement in mind when we said: “We must obey God rather than men.”

Peter was prepared to disobey men and suffer in their hands than to disobey God knowing that was worse. Indeed, as Jesus told us: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). Don’t be afraid of people. Make God your priority.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, deepen my trust in your protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Study: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34 and John 3:31-36)*

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu


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