Persecution and the Gospel

The book of Acts opens with the truly amazing account of the exciting expansion of the New Testament Church. However in Chapter five the story begins to change in a way that quickly captures the readers attention. In the beginning the Church enjoyed a session of favor and acceptance, then persecution began to break out that scattered the Church and cost the lives of many. When we look at what tradition says happened to the twelve it is truly compelling. We are told that John died of extreme old age, of course Judas Iscariot hanged himself. Tradition says that all the rest of the apostles and many Church leaders died as martyrs. Peter was crucified, head downward, during the persecution of Nero. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, in Achaia, a Grecian Colony, and James, the younger brother of the Savior, was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia, James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem, and Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the east Indies. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis (Abyssinia), Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows, and Simon died on a cross in Persia (now Iran).

This Sunday we will look at the start of the persecution in Jerusalem and see how God would have us deal with those challenges today!!

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