Rejoicing in Adversity

Written on 06/13/2022
Christian Dunn

Verse: Acts 5:40-42

They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

The apostles were different! In this chapter of Acts they get arrested for preaching, then an angel sets them free and tells them to keep they get right back to it. Then they get arrested again and commanded not to preach, to which they respond, "We must obey God rather than human beings!" -- then they get flogged. And how do they respond? I mean that's a heck of a 48 hours for them. Are they tired? Definitely. In pain? Most certainly. Afraid? I would think so.

But when they finally left after getting beaten, they left "rejoicing." What?? And, even after the threats and the physical violence, they "never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news."

This is wild to me, and so challenging. It is so personally convicting to me. What things do I complain about on a regular basis? What things steal my joy? What things make me worry about sharing my faith or praying for people? Not only did they have it much worse, but they handled it much better—with rejoicing! They were grateful that they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus.


This shows that they had their priorities for life, and their definition of what is "good" in life, aligned with God's kingdom and not with the world. They weren't primarily worried about their comfort or people liking them. They were worried about doing what God called them to.

I wonder what kind of resistance to our faith we each face that discourages us? Maybe today this verse can encourage you. If you have been mocked, or disagreed with, or left out, or betrayed because of your faith—you are in good company. Ask the Lord to show you the joy of suffering for him. It isn't something that makes sense to our modern understandings, but it is part of our heritage as followers of Jesus. Ask him to show you this powerful way of rejoicing in the face of adversity.