This is the second time in as many chapters that Peter and some of the apostles (the text doesn’t tell us who was with him) are imprisoned for preaching the gospel and for God confirming the word with signs and wonders. But this time an angel comes and opens the prison and frees them and then commands them to continue to preach the gospel. They immediately go to the temple and start preaching again! What boldness! What faith in God!
A third time they are arrested and this time they are flogged for preaching the gospel. And then the craziest verse in this section, verse 41, where it says that they departed rejoicing because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. They were stoked to suffer! They were pumped that they were looked upon as shameful men, to them, it was confirmation that they were on the right path. This joyful reaction would have been more of a witness to the love and power of God than complaining and asking everyone to pray for them and complaining to God saying “why did you let this happen to me? That’s not fair!”
I think to myself, would I continue to preach with such boldness if I had been thrown in prison? And then I think, would I be full of joy if I just got flogged! Probably not. But the hallmark of a Christian should be joy and hope in the midst of suffering. This can be the greatest witness to the reality of God in our lives than anything else we can do, especially in the modern consumer world where we all feel like we never have enough and everything is unfair. Do people see hope and joy in you regardless of your situation? This should be our goal. People should see us and think why do they have such peace and hope in their current situation? I want that hope and peace in my life!
There is only one who can give us peace and hope in the midst of suffering and that is Jesus.
Jesus is what we Christians have to offer a suffering world.
Lord help me to look to you in all of my situations. Lord empower me to have joy and hope even in suffering so that people would see you in me and want to know you, the only true God.