Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
On December 25, 1914, during World
War I, a remarkable display of kindness
happened between opposing armies.
The so-called Christmas Truce was an
unofficial ceasefire that found German
and Allied troops climbing out of their
trenches, warily at first, to exchange
food, sing carols, and even play a
friendly soccer match. The soldiers who
shook hands on the battlefield that day
demonstrated human compassion and
testified to their hope for future peace.
The Christians in today’s passage had
also been battered recently by their
enemies. Peter and John had just been
released from prison, where they had
been unjustly detained for preaching
the gospel. Receiving them back, the
church prayed together. Their prayer is
starkly honest, acknowledging to the
Lord the frustration of being opposed
by raging nations and wicked rulers
But the church does not pray without
hope. They began their prayer by
addressing the Lord of all creation who
created all things and rules over them
by His sovereign power. They also
confessed that even the wicked forces
that fight against them did so only
under the power and permission of the
Lord (v. 28). They knew that Satan and
his angels are subject to One greater
than themselves. We can learn from
the early church’s prayerful example to
be honest before the Lord and to be
honest about the Lord.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about
this prayer is found at its conclusion. We
might expect the disciples to pray for
the total obliteration of their enemies.
Instead, we find them interceding for
boldness to proclaim the gospel and
power to work miracles among the
unconverted. In short, they asked God
to make His enemies His friends.
Apply the Word
Jesus instructed us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Though most of us don’t experience persecution the way early Christians did, we still might be surrounded by people who hate our Savior. Spend time praying for unbelievers, asking God to reconcile them to Himself and make them His friends.
Pray with Us
We request your prayers for the professors on our Moody Theological Seminary Michigan campus: Christopher Brooks, Eric Moore, Eugene Mayhew, James Wood, and John Restum. Pray for their teaching and guidance of students training for ministry.