You killed the Christ

On a recent read through the book of Acts, I was startled by the apostles’ boldness. “You killed the Christ,” they told their audience more than once.

The varying responses to this claim are fascinating.

Peter gave his famous sermon at Pentecost which ended with “…this Jesus whom you crucified” (2:36). The response of his listeners? “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (2:37). They were cut to the heart. Convicted. And they wanted to know the steps to restoration.

Later, Peter and John made a similarly blunt claim (4:10). Their boldness astonished the religious leaders, who told them not to talk about Jesus anymore (4:18). Shhh. Now, just run along and don’t disturb the peace.

But the apostles didn’t stop being bold, which landed them in prison. “…you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us,” complained the high priest (5:28). But the apostles answered with yet another claim that the leaders had killed Jesus “by hanging on a tree” (5:30). When the council heard this, they were so angry that they wanted to kill the apostles (5:33).

Then courageous Stephen proclaimed before his accusers, “…the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered…” (7:52).

But by now, the religious leaders had had enough. “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him” (7:54). And then they stoned him to death.

Each time the apostles spoke these words, their hearers had the chance to respond to the burn of the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Some were cut to the heart. Some tried to quench the Spirit’s voice. Some were enraged, gnashed their teeth, and murdered.

What about me? What about you? How do we respond to conviction?

Photo by Henrique Jacob on Unsplash

Loyal or practical?

My roommate and I have the same problem. After more than a year of living in the same area, we find that we are loyal to shop owners. That doesn’t sound so bad, but we both wonder about the practicality of it. We go back to the same shops again and again, even if another place has better merchandise or better prices. This is especially true if new shops are in sight of our normal shop.

For example, my preferred produce vendor is on my way home from school. One day, when I was feeling sick to my stomach, I stopped and asked if he had bananas.

“No, they will come in later today. Maybe an hour or hour and a half.”

“Okay.” And I continued on my way, walking right past a vendor cart of bananas…sold by someone else.

My struggle became evident over Eid Kbir when many of my normal vendors disappeared for the holiday. I found new people to be faithful to…until my usuals returned. So now I have two produce vendors. One is in a busier section of the neighborhood which I usually avoid, but when I do stop there, I take a route home that avoids my usual vendor.

My roommate likes to give business to an elderly man in the old medina who usually has about four things for sale. Sometimes she takes inventory of his stock, decides she needs nothing, and then buys something anyway.

Is this practical? Probably not. At least not at first glance. Then again, by sticking with the chosen few, we are able to build solid professional relationships and perhaps protect ourselves from those less honest.