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COMMENTARY

COMMENTARY
English
Gospel according to Matthew
Gospel according to Mark
Gospel according to Luke
Gospel according to John
Acts of the Apostles
Epistle to the Romans

German
Die Offenbarung des Johannes

Arabic
إنجيل المسيح حسب متى
إنجيل المسيح حسب مرقس
إنجيل المسيح حسب لوقا
إنجيل المسيح حسب يوحنا
أعمال الرسل
رسالة إِلى أهل رومية
رسالة إِلى أهل غلاطية
رسالة إِلى أهل فيلبي
رسالة إلى أهل كولوسي
رسالة إلى العبرانيين
رسالة يعقوب
رؤيا يوحنا

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1. The First Persecution of the Christian Church at Jerusalem and the Believers’ Scattering throughout Samaria (Acts 8:1- 8)
1   And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2   And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3   As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

The listeners were filled with rage because of what they considered to be open blasphemy spoken by Stephen. They heard his intercessory prayer and became even more angered, for the blasphemer had not begged for grace or mercy. The indignant legalists raced to the quarters of the Hellenistic Jews, to those who had become Christians. Their intent was to destroy them, for they too, like Stephen, had started to lovingly, logically and orderly preach to the people of Jerusalem. The chief priests kindled further hatred among the people and the fire of vengeance spread out exceedingly. Great anger grew as a result of customs that were being broken. Old grudges and Jealousies were again arising because of perceived blessings. In those days many tears were being shed in Jerusalem. Parents were taken away from their children, men were separated from their wives, and young men taken from their widowed mothers.
Saul was zealous and a fanatic. He had been provided with an authoritative document from the Jewish high council to destroy the so-called Jesus’ heresy. Gamaliel’s advice had no more value of note. Every Jew who was not established in the law and the rites of worship was to be persecuted. Saul violently entered into houses, having a force attending him for that very purpose. He hauled off both men and women, committing them to prison to be tried, whipped, and put to death unless they renounced Christ. Paul was to later tearfully confess that he had persecuted the Christian church, and forced faithful believers to blaspheme against Him who had been raised from the dead. His holding to the law in a rigid, inflexible manner had made him blind and loveless. It was as if he was demon-possessed, not having realized that love is the fulfillment of the law. Instead, he served God with the sword, and was not aware that by so doing he had become a devil.
Most of the Christians fled to neighboring regions. They lived in caves, or ran away to distance villages, even to the despised Samaria, to take shelter from the deadly storm. People asked them: “Why are you running about confusedly, without food and dress?” They answered: “We love Christ, and we love our enemies, and that is why we are persecuted.” Thus they told the people the good news about Him who had been raised from the dead. Christ permitted His church in Jerusalem to dwindle, and allowed it to become broken. The wicked enemy swooped down like an eagle from the blue sky upon a flock of frightfully dispersed chickens. Thus the gospel was communicated in accordance with Christ’s demand, from Jerusalem to every Jewish village, and on to Samaria and other nations. Christ’s triumphal procession never stops. It continues its way to the end of the world, to every language and tribe, until Christ comes again.
Not all of the Christians fled Jerusalem, for the apostles who stayed there were prepared to die for their Savior. They remained with the aged and widows, comforted those that fell, and looked after the orphans and the destitute. The apostles appeared like faithful shepherds. They did not seek their own deliverance, but looked after their flock, particularly in the evil days. Probably the apostles hid themselves among the many friends who had experienced the blessing of healings by their hands. Possibly these apostles were not persecuted because they were faithful Jews who heeded the law and the rites, honored the temple by their continuous prayers, and were not like other liberated Christian brothers, such as Stephen.
Neither were all the people of Jerusalem indignant toward the Christians. It was not so, however, with the strict companions of the high council, who searched all the lanes and streets, aiming to wipe out the last trace of those who had the Holy Spirit in them. They were adamant to see the name of Jesus Christ no more kept in remembrance. In spite of this tumult, many devout Jews, who had not approved Stephen’s stoning, met together. They carried Stephen’s body forth to see it decently buried, mourning for him with loud cries. They did not want to see the wrath of God fall upon them and upon their city because of this great injustice. They had loved this humble servant of truth, the man of love who had served them as an angel of God on earth. These devout men were near to the spirit of the gospel, yet dared not join Christianity publicly.
Dear brother, are you prepared to suffer when the hour of persecution comes? Or would you prefer to flee? Listen carefully to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who wants to guide you step by step. It is not necessary to glorify the Son by suffering martyrdom. Maybe He wants you to bear witness for Him somewhere else. So listen carefully to the voice of the Lord. Die to your selfishness, so that you may serve Christ and live for Him.

 

Prayer:   O Lord, you are my Possessor. Help me that I may not live for myself, but serve You day and night. Teach me faithfulness, even to the point of death, not only in words, but also by translating Your love into good deeds. Have mercy on me, and bless all the enemies of Your love. Amen.

 

Question:

42. What was the most significant event during the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem?

 

 

Table of contents

PREFACE

PART 1
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD IN THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
(MATTHEW 1:1 - 4:25)

PART 2
CHRIST TEACHES AND MINISTERS IN GALILEE
(MATTHEW 5:1 - 11:1)

PART 3
THE UNBELIEVING JEWS AND THEIR ENMITY TO JESUS
(MATTHEW 11:2-18:35)

PART 4
JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 19:1 - 20:34)

PART 5
JESUS’ LAST MINISTRIES IN JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 21:1 - 25:46)

PART 6
CHRIST’S SUFFEINGS AND DEATH
(MATTHEW 26:1-27:66)

PART 7
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(MATTHEW 28:1-20)

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