A daily devotional by Dr. K. Neill Foster
for October 27, 2020
Text: "He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect" Acts 24:5.
There is today an evangelical denomination called the Church of the Nazarene. Jesus was from Nazareth, certainly a Nazarene. In this text, the early Christians are given sect status and called, albeit unkindly, "Nazarenes." It was an epithet. And Paul is called a ringleader, hardly a complimentary term.
The meanings of names and words change over time. The name "Nazarene" has become civilized, acceptable and perhaps even admired. Similarly the Methodists, in the days of their founder John Wesley, were derisively called "Methodists." Time has changed all that. Methodist ministers now enjoy prestige and acceptability in today's religious world. Persecution over time adjusts to its enemies and finally bids a welcome.
However, Scripture tells us that those who live godly lives will suffer persecution. Our lack of persecution, if that is where we find ourselves, may be telling us that we are not really living godly lives.
Godly living produces persecution. God's Word is clear: Live a godly life, and you will be persecuted.