At another peak in the story, the apostles are teaching, signs are being done, people are being saved, the disciples are doing what the church was intended to do, and we find another example of where disciples keep going and spectators fall off.
The apostles are arrested for their teaching. Somehow the miraculously find their way out of prison and end up back in the temple teaching. They’re called before the religious counsel and questioned for their actions. Because they’ve disobeyed they are beaten. In front of everyone, the cheering crowds, they are flogged for doing the very thing God asked them to do.
At this point I think it would be fair to ask questions; I probably would myself. My prayer life would be more lamenting and complaining than anything else. Why do you keep doing this to me? How come I’m doing what you’ve asked but I continue to suffer because of it? What the frick????
When the apostles are punished again, imprisoned again, mocked again, and finally beaten for their faithfulness, their reaction is what makes a disciples. They walk away from being flogged rejoicing. They’re honored. They’re blessed to be chosen to suffer for Jesus name. The Apostles see this whole thing as a gift from God to them. They’re just so glad to be a part of what God is doing that being flogged is exciting.
Where is your faith when it costs you? How do you react to God’s plans when they don’t go so well for you? The apostles walked head first into suffering knowing that’s exactly where Jesus wanted them and they didn’t grow bitter or angry, or whiny like so many times we do. They rejoiced. They were so thankful. The last verse of this passage tells us they went back day after day after day, teaching, preaching, praying, and making disciples.
Would you continue head on in your faith if you knew it might cost you something? Would you continue if you knew it might cost you everything? Disciples do. They do because they know following Jesus is everything. Everything else should be counted as loss compared to knowing Him more. So if knowing him more means suffering flogging, flog away. If knowing him more means selling everything, take it. If following him means losing every earthly possession and more, it’s gone.