“. . . we cannot deny . . .” Acts 4:16
Unstoppable. That’s what the church has always been. Few things in history are more striking than the continual growth of Christianity. In times of difficulty and persecution, the Church is its own witness to its success in diverse situations.
The Church is God’s idea and has succeeded and triumphed because it is God’s governing presence. The conditions under which it has advanced is beyond human imagination and comprehension.
How often the things that threatened its destruction have been its very success. The religious official prevailed upon Pilate to crucify Jesus; His death results in the demise of sin and death. The cross was meant to be an instrument of execution but it accomplished God’s redeeming purpose.
The Sanhedrin persecuted the little church to break it up. But their efforts only served to scatter the living fires of the church throughout the known world, which ignited everything it touched.
So the church has been ridiculed, persecuted, minimalized, used, marginalized thousands of times since. The violent windstorms of persecutors have only carried heaven in every direction of the globe into every country and continent. The church has multiplied, grown and brought forth fruit a hundred fold.
Every act of opposition, every attempt to silence the Apostles, unwittingly produced one of the great victories of early Christianity. The whole issue of this verse for this devotion hinges on the healing of the lame man and on the power with which it was performed. The question was the connection of healing with Christianity.
The church became a healing force in the world. Taking Jesus at His word – He sets captives free from spiritual and physical infirmities using prayer as the vehicle to usher in God’s healing work. Later in history, it was the church who established hospitals caring for the sick.
Christianity’s greatest accomplishment in our time is that it has survived and thrived despite incredible odds. Even the apostles would have been skeptical had their faith not been rooted in the undeniable fact of the empty tomb.
Spend some time thinking about the deep roots of your faith and the resilience and beauty of the church.