Acts 2, 12-13
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Following Jesus gets you noticed. It’s unavoidable. Being the disciple of a world-changer will do that.
Jesus came with a message of love, but he didn’t mince his words either. He was out to change the course of history forever, and when he saw things and people that needed transformation he said so. He didn’t worry about expressing his anger to the Pharisees, or turning over the money-lenders’ tables in the temple. He was good news to the poor, whatever stood in his way.
People had different reactions to this – some recognised he was the Truth; some felt threatened or angered by him; some accused him of sin; and eventually some conspired to kill him. His life, death and resurrection all stood out as unique.
As we seek to follow his example and live according to his love, our lives similarly stand out as different. But if we choose to be Christians, we must be willing to embrace a counter-cultural mission. And these verses in Acts 2 give us a helpful example of how to do it:
The disciples have been obedient to Jesus and waited in Jerusalem; they have received the Holy Spirit; all heaven seems to have broken loose; and people are flocking to them. However, they receive two types of reaction from the crowd. One is amazement, astonishment and perplexity. But the other is laughter and accusations of drunkenness that seek to discredit what is happening.
Whatever reaction the disciples face, their response is the same – they preach the gospel. In the verses that follow, Peter will gently but firmly address the questions, laughter and accusation with the same truth – the disciples are different because of Jesus, and the power of his Spirit within them.
Two thousand years later it’s the same for us. Some people may be amazed and astonished at our passion for justice. But others will laugh at our lifestyle choices, or accuse us of do-gooder idealism. Whatever the reaction we must continue to stand for what we believe, and for the rights of the poor. Because we know that is what Jesus would do.
Something to do
Still your heart and get ready to give an honest answer to a difficult question... What areas in your life do you know you need to be more counter-cultural in, but find it hard to do so?
What issues of justice do you find it difficult to stand up for because you fear it might lead to isolation, mockery or even abuse from others? Ask the Holy Spirit for strength, and a deeper knowledge of the fact that Jesus is always with you on the narrow road.
Something to pray
Lord Jesus please help me to follow you on the narrow road
As you go against the flow.
Today I make my choice again. I choose to serve you
In my decisions, my words, my actions and my thoughts.
Guide me in your Way for you are the Truth and the Life.
For you I’ll speak up and stand out.
In your name I’ll turn over tables and reach out to the one the world labels untouchable.
With you I’ll face a crowd of questioners and mockers
And through you, may I have the strength, and the love to remain
Until poverty is defeated, and injustice undone.
Today’s contributor is Liz Baddaley, a former staff member of Christian Aid. She is a worship leader, song-writer, freelance writer and editor specialising in Bible study and worship resources for charities. She is also the co-founder ofwww.thesanctuarycentre.org