Have you ever been mistreated by someone else?
Ha! That was a rhetorical question. If you’re reading this it means you are from planet earth, and if you live on planet earth you have been treated poorly by someone, somewhere along the way, because that’s just how things work on a broken planet.
How did you feel when you were ill treated, misunderstood or unjustly marginalized? What did you want to do in response?
It’s hard to experience something like that, largely because we feel so out of control. We are in a section in our study of the book of Acts where the leadership of the first church has now experienced unjust sanctions against their ministry by the powers that be. This Sunday we’ll be reading about how they responded to such mistreatment, as we explore Acts 4:23-31.
In our text, who did Pete and John go to as soon as they were released from captivity? Do you think the alliances we choose in times of trouble can dictate the course we take in response to that trouble?
When they all get together and hear the threat leveled against them…what do they do? Is that a natural response for you to have when someone has hurt you?
What is it about God’s nature that they remind themselves of in v24? What bearing does that have on their situation?
They go on to quote Psalm 2 in their prayer. They see it as a forecast of things that have already taken place in the experience that Jesus had before Pilate and Herod, as well as the mob. Read that psalm in it’s entirety. What sort of picture do you get from v4 of that psalm? How can it comfort us to gain a picture of what goes on, behind the scenes, when we are faced with bad treatment and difficult people?
When the prayer ended, the room got shaken and they got stirred. In their prayer, did they ask for deliverance from persecution? Did they ask for vengeance on their oppressors? What did they ask for? What did God do for them to embolden them in their mission? What does that tell us about our source of strength to overcome difficulty, and how would you go about asking God for that source?
That was a lot of questions, I know. Hopefully it will prove to be an encouraging study as we learn from our older brothers and sisters of the early church. See yer’ Sunday!