“The apostles for their part left the Sanhedrin full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name.” –Acts 5:41
Jesus “tested” his apostles (see e.g. Jn 6:6). His tests were designed to prepare them for future tests. They didn’t always pass these tests. The Jewish Sanhedrin also tested the apostles, very severely. The apostles passed the tests beautifully; they could not be defeated or suppressed. Scourging only caused the apostles to rejoice all the more, and persevere with even more joy. Jesus’ death did not cause His ministry to die, as happened with Theudas and Judas the Galilean (see Acts 5:36-37). Rather, Jesus’ death spurs us to rejoice and witness and proclaim Him all the more.
Jesus is “the Tester of our hearts” (1 Thes 2:4). He doesn’t test us to punish us. Rather, He tests us as would any good teacher, to enable their students to expand and grow. A military drill sergeant tests his soldiers to strengthen and prepare them to withstand and overcome the attacks of the enemy. If the enemy’s onslaught was the first time the soldiers had faced adversity, they may not be “battle-tested” enough to gain victory. The Holy Spirit can infuse us with the grace to overcome the most severe first-time tests. However, Jesus’ plan is to test His disciples over their period of formation before releasing them to the world for the tests of discipleship, evangelization, and mission.
“No test has been sent you that does not come to all men. Besides, God keeps His promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test He will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).
PRAYER: Father, fill me with total trust in You that I may pass Your tests with rejoicing.
PROMISE: “Jesus then took the loaves of bread, gave thanks, and passed them around.” –Jn 6:11
PRAISE: Widowhood tested Jane’s faith, but now she looks to her Bridegroom in all things.