Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for this daily challenge. It’s Thursday, the day we try to apply and live out what we’ve learned this week from the Bible. This week we’ve been studying the way Jesus’ followers became messengers, spreading the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection at great personal risk.
When the religious authorities found Peter and friends speaking about Jesus in the temple, I suppose they could have arrested them, but imagine how the crowds might have reacted. Here are some people so devoted to their message that God miraculously released them from jail, and they immediately started preaching the same message. The crowds would be at once excited and intrigued at the danger of it all, but also afraid of what might happen. Thankfully, when the authorities came, the apostles didn’t resist, and so neither did the crowds. It remained peaceful.
The high priest says, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” He can’t even name Jesus – he’s either too angry, or his guilt was haunting him, and he knew these men were going to point the blame at him and public opinion might turn.
This was a risky situation, but a respected and wise rabbi named Gamaliel reminded the Sanhedrin of two other people, thought to be the Messiah who’d gathered crowds recently and faded away, so he advised they just leave the apostles alone.
He said that if what the apostles were doing was simply self-manufactured it would go nowhere, but if it was of God, even the Sanhedrin wouldn’t be able to stop it.
And so Peter and the apostles remained messengers of the gospel, or good news about Jesus. It’s because of them that we know today. In some ways, we could describe this as a debt or obligation. Someone paid it forward to us; we should also “pay it forward” by sharing this good news with someone else.
One man, Paul who later became a Christian, was actually a student of Gamaliel’s. He said, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Romans 1:14-15)”
Before you tell me, that’s not who I am, I can’t share anything about Jesus, just remember who our inspiration was today. Peter, a fisherman, who throughout the gospels seems hapless and says the wrong thing. But the resurrection of Jesus fills him with the Holy Spirit, and he becomes a messenger of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, at great personal cost.
This doesn’t mean anything pushy or manipulative, or simply about bombarding strangers without context, it means being so filled with joy about what Jesus has done, that you can’t keep it contained, and that you’ll take risks to share it.
So fear of rejection is no excuse, lack of skill is no excuse, and lack of position is no excuse. As long as you believe in Jesus, his death and resurrection, ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you, that the resurrected Jesus will fill you with joy and hope, and give you joy and hope and courage to become a messenger to those in your life.
Challenge: Who in your life would benefit most from the good news of Jesus and his victory over sin and death? Make a list; it should be almost everyone you know that isn’t a follower of Jesus already! Then, draw them in concentric circles; in terms of how close they are to you, and how much they’ve already seen of the good news in you. What excuses hold you back from telling them why you do/say/live the way you do?