This is election day #4! I have to admit I've not been watching the counts and the controversies around the different counts in states all that closely. I voted on Tuesday and I have a sticker and new pen to prove it and since then I've read the occasional article and watched some random news reports and carried on a few conversations about the election and the results and at times I've felt a little guilty about not being focused more on "the most important election of our life." I have opinions about who the better candidates were/are and I have beliefs about the better direction for our local communities all the way to our national government and policies and already some of my preferred candidates have lost and some have won and still we aren't sure who will be the next President. As I type this, though, I'm, well at peace with it all...
This morning I read Acts 5. It is an interesting chapter of scripture. It begins with a weird, wild, scary story about a couple selling a piece of land and donating some of the proceeds to the early Church. I don't want to dig into this story much but we should all remember to be honest because God knows when we're not. In verse 12 we read about the Apostles performing miracles. The work of the Holy Spirit was so spectacular that people were bringing their sick friends and family and laying them on mats along the road hoping that Peter would walk by so that even his shadow would fall over them. People were being healed and word was getting out about Jesus. All of this resulted in more and more people believing in Jesus! And then the story shifts. Verse 17 says, "But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison." If you read the first four chapters of Acts you'll read about the Apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit - they teach and preach and even heal people all because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! Now the religious leaders are filled with something too, jealousy... The greek here is zelos. It is a word that is sometimes translated as; indignation, envy, zeal or jealousy. It would be the word they used to describe a jealous spouse. No matter how the next few days or weeks play out there is no reason to be indignant about the election results and I think the rest of chapter 5 explains why.
The Apostles are tossed in jail and told to stop preaching about Jesus. Before the night is through an angel of the Lord releases them from prison and tells them to go preach in the Temple courts, so at day break they go and start preaching! When the people bring this to the attention of the religious leaders the High Priest questions the disciples, telling them they had been forbidden from speaking about Jesus. Peter answered them simply in verse 29, "We must obey God rather than men." The first reason we should be at peace no matter how an election is decided is because we are first and foremost citizens of Heaven! As followers of Jesus our loyalty is to Him first! I don't believe Peter is advocating for extreme civil disobedience he is simply reminding us to remember where our true citizenship rests.
The religious leaders are not moved. In fact they are even more indignant and start to make plans to kill the Apostles. One Pharisee stands up and tells the rest of the leaders maybe we ought to take a deep breath, if this Jesus guy wasn't from God all this excitement will die down but if He was from God, we need to be careful what we do next. They agree and release the Apostles. After being released the Apostles praised God that they had the chance to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus. Finally, at the end of the chapter we find the second reason we should be at peace with the election no matter how it ends up; our mission doesn't change!
We are not on mission for candidate A or candidate B. Donald Trump is not our savior! Joe Biden is not our savior! Our Savior and Lord is Jesus! Our mission is the share His love with others the very best way we can and it doesn't stop based on the result of an election. The Apostles were reprimanded, threatened and physically punished and still they continued to teach, preach and share the good news of Jesus! Let us do the same!
"And everyday, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus."