Preserved in Jesus Christ – Day 21
Aflame for God
Filled with the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were renewed men. Empowered with special gifts to equip them for their ministry, they preached widely, performing many miracles and wonders. Thousands were converted.
The high priest, his cohorts and the Sadducees totally rejected the teachings of Jesus. However, despite threats, arrests, trials and whippings, the Apostles could not be deterred from preaching in the name of Jesus.
The early church spread and grew rapidly despite the vehement opposition (Acts 12:22-23). During this time, Herod Agrippa 1 became king of Palestine. He began the first royal persecution of the Christian church. The king had the Apostle James executed. When he saw how this pleased his fellow Jews, he had Peter arrested too.
Peter was chained and imprisoned under heavy guard, until an angel miraculously came to Peter’s rescue and helped him escape. Herod was furious and had all the guards put to death (Acts 12:18).
Herod then visited the people of Tyre and Sidon with whom he was angry. They were anxious to placate him as he supplied them with food. He agreed to speak publicly. On the chosen day, Herod put on his royal robes and, seated on his throne, made his speech. The people were lavish in their praise. “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted.
The Bible reveals that, at once, an angel of the Lord struck Herod down for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:22-23). Herod was eaten by worms and died. The next verse in the Bible reads, “Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow.” (Acts 12:24)
Despite ongoing opposition, it is still doing so today. It is estimated that there are more than 2 325 507 000 Christians in the world and the number is increasing! To God be the glory!