The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:41-42 (NIV)
In the verses before today's, it says that the apostles were beaten and then ordered, by the religious leaders, not to speak in the name of Jesus. When they were released, they left "rejoicing" that they had been beaten for loving, healing, and teaching people in the Name of Jesus. It sounds strange that they would rejoice after experiencing such a hardship. Notice their perspective. It says they rejoiced because they were, "counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name." In John 15:20 Jesus told these same disciples, "Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.'" No doubt they remembered Jesus' words and knew that if they were living like Jesus, they would be persecuted like He was. They weren't rejoicing because of the suffering itself, that would be weird. They rejoiced because the persecution they received was absolute proof that they were becoming like their Master! It was further evidence that Jesus was living in them and through them, and that it was having an impact on the people they encountered. If this wasn't true, they would not have experienced persecution and hardship because of the Name of Jesus. What about you? Are you ever excluded, not invited, made fun of, or experience hardship because you are living for Jesus? You should. And when you do, you can be like the disciples and rejoice. You can rejoice because you are growing in Christ, and people see Him in you!