"So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:41,42).
Although they had been punished significantly physically, the twelve left the council--surprising as it may sound--rejoicing! They were thrilled that they were able to suffer for doing what was right! They were excited to be able to endure hardship for the cause of Christ! What an example of true faith in and love for the Lord! This is a wonderful attitude to have and is worthy of our imitation. True faith does not cower in fear or disintegrate when challenged and attacked. It maintains a joyful attitude and continues doing what is right and good--regardless of the strength and fierceness of the opposition. Both components are important. To continue doing right while growing despondent is not good, but neither is it good to forsake the right course of action with a pleasant disposition.
Their wounds would have been a reminder (over the coming days and weeks) of the order issued by the Sanhedrin. But, suffering and the threat of more pain would not deter them. They continued sharing the gospel of Christ both publicly (in the temple) and privately (in every home) daily. This is the kind of evangelism we still need to today! They were busy teaching the truth wherever they could. They didn't wait for people to come to them at their assemblies. They went from house to house proclaiming the wonderful gospel. Beatings would not stop the apostles from doing God's will. The Sanhedrin would have to kill them in order to silence them! Obviously, this level of devotion and sacrifice underscores the importance of the message the apostles were delivering. The gospel is the power of God to save man (cf. Rom. 1:16). It must be preached at any cost. The apostles have set forth a wonderful pattern for us here.
What about you? How would your faith have held up under such circumstances? Would you have heeded the council's decree? Would you have stopped talking about Jesus in every place? Or, would you just stop speaking about Him publicly? As tempting as the later option may seem, it was not the option the apostles chose. God wanted them to preach the gospel to all the world. Public preaching was necessary for such to be accomplished, even if it enraged the Sanhedrin. Friends, do you love God like the apostles did? Are you glorifying God with both your attitude and actions? Are you willing to really suffer for your faith?
Before leaving this section, let us note some other New Testament passages that clearly teach that genuine Christians will suffer for the Lord's cause:
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter."