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  • Writer's pictureEast Martin CRC

What a Difference a Year Makes

Acts 12:1-4

Verse 2  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.


    It is time for another time jump.  It was now a year past Jesus’ last Passover and things had really changed on the religious front for the Jewish people.  They had gone from being one nation with God as their King and Lord in the times of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses to the divided kingdom which led to some splitting up of the religious practices and by the time Jesus had come along there were the various sects of the Jewish religion like the Pharisees and the Sadducees.


    Following Jesus’ death and resurrection was the beginning of something new.  When the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost things really started to change for the believers.  Their insistence that Jesus had risen from the dead had not been appreciated by the Jewish leaders.  They didn’t want to admit the possibility of the resurrection being true because what that would have meant about their actions.  They didn’t want to be the ones guilty of killing the long awaited Messiah.


    The number of those who believed Jesus was the Messiah and that He had risen from the dead had started growing on that day when the disciples were enabled to speak in every language represented.  As the Gospel of Jesus began to spread the number of people being filled with the Holy Spirit had grown.  By the time of the first Passover after Jesus, many had come to follow Him including one of the most zealous Pharisees, a man named Saul who had helped arrest and arrange the stoning of those who claimed Jesus was alive before meeting the Lord on the road to one such mission.


    Now everyone was back in Jerusalem to celebrate the ancient festival.  For some it would have been observance as usual but for those who believed in Jesus’ resurrection it was a reminder of what had happened and why they were now celebrating the Lord’s Supper at every gathering to remember Him.  They were a people of joy and their message was one of hope and the leaders were not thrilled with it.  And that is why James was killed by the sword.


    When the Jewish people showed their happiness about the death of one of Jesus’ disciples the king decided he wanted more of that glory and approval from the Jewish people and he had Peter arrested and imprisoned with the plan to put him through a public trial after the Passover festival.  In one year Peter had gone from denying Christ to being willing to be in chains for Him.  That is the difference of the resurrection and the filling of the Holy Spirit.


Making It Personal

    Would you be willing to be jailed for Jesus?  How intentional are you about living for Him?  How much has your relationship with Jesus grown in the last year?


Making It Personal Kids

    Would you stand up for Jesus even if it meant you would get in trouble?  Do you try to grow in your relationship with Jesus?  How much have you grown in relationship with Him in the last year?


Closing Prayer

    Father, thank You for the reminder of how You can help us grow in our relationship with You.  Give us the wisdom and courage to grow spiritually so we can stand for You when we need to.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


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