Acts 12: Keeping Faith despite Persecution
The church was not popular even from the beginning. In Acts 12, James is arrested and martyred.
Act 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
Act 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
Act 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
Act 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Clearly, the people were in favor of this type of persecution. After all, Christianity had been painted as a dangerous rebellion against the orthodoxy of Judaism, and if this was what it took to contain the problem, it seems that the Jewish people were okay with that.
However, what stands out to me about this passage is the fact that the people were continuing to pray. Even though things seemed to be going against them, they did not abandon their belief in God. They did not all of a sudden throw in the towel and decide that this Christianity thing was nothing more than a fad.
The question of course then is why they did not. They continued to believe that God was in control even though they were facing circumstances that would shake most of us. I know that if one of my friends was put to death, it would have a profound effect on me.
However, they were able to persevere because they knew that they had something that was true. They knew they had been led Jesus, they knew that Jesus had died, and they knew that Jesus had risen again. They were in a position to know what they were getting themselves into, and they knew that they had the truth on their side. People will die for the truth, but they will not die for something that they know is false.
That is why they did not lose faith.