I went to high school with a guy named Byron Baily. He was a really nice guy. He was quiet. He smiled a lot. He didn't generate any unnecessary drama. When I saw Byron on our football team I was surprised. What position would this quiet, reserved and gently person play? Middle linebacker!
I watched across the line as Byron smiled, trained and worked to become better. When a receiver or runner went into the zone covered by Byron, watch out ... pain was on the way! Byron was dangerous. He hit like a truck. He ran very fast. He was one main reason our team only lost one game that year.
As I read Acts 5:17-26 I thought of Byron. The Church was doing great things. People were healed, the needy were cared for and the Word was preached. The Church smiled a lot, and I believe God smiled along with it. Who could have a problem with such gentle and nice people? How about the Jews who didn't like the "People of the Way" (Christians) being the Church God envisioned (chosen people)? How about the Romans who heard about a King and Lord who was not Caesar? How about business people who lost profit when demon-possessed meal tickets were healed and no longer were the side-show that earned them money? How about artisans who sold carved images of gods that were different than the God of the Christians? To the Jews, the Romans, the business interests and the artisans, the Church was dangerous. And so they were.
Acts, at this point, begins to tell the story of a scattered Church that becomes fragmented and threatened. But like a bear when the cubs are threatened, the Church became something else. It became dangerous. Yes, dangerous to the powers-that-be. But also dangerous to those who embrace it. Because following Jesus and being the Church costs our connection to the world's way of doing life. Life, liberty and freedom are always dangerous in a world that wants to direct us, control us and keep us penned-up. But the Church is meant to live in the dangerous and unbound land where people are healed, truth is proclaimed, poor are fed, and love is lived. AMEN! Randy