Acts 24:5, “For we have found [Paul] a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the rest of the Nazarenes.”
This was Tertullius’ charge against Paul and “the rest of the Nazarenes” (Christians). We Christians wish to live in a world where we live free of demoralisation and persecution, which is understandable but impractical. We will always live in an anti-Christian world—a world full of antichrists and a world antithetical to the Gospel. In Luther’s words, “How could things run smoothly when the devil is in charge and is a mortal enemy of the Gospel? …Do not hope for any peace and quiet so long as Christ and His Gospel are in the midst of the devil’s kingdom” (The Sermon on the Mount, LW 21:51-52).
Hostility toward Christians in this world is perpetual. The Gaystapo will continue to sue Christian bakers and the like, the cultural elite will continue to mock us, atheists will continue to scold us, and so on. Yet the Church will continue to stand in this wide midst of antichrists. Antichrists have been berating the Church for millennia, and she still stands, for she is built upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22). Christ will not allow His Bride to fall. Antichrists may surround us, but God is our shield, He destroys the wicked, and salvation comes from Him (Psalm 3).
©Featured image from the Trial on the Apostle Paul, oil on canvas, by Nikolai K. Bodarevski (1850-1921).