Acts 5:41
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) Rejoicing that they were counted worthy.—The emotion is probably, in one sense, natural to all who have an intense conviction of the Truth for which they suffer. But in this case there was something more. The Twelve could not fail to remember their Lord’s beatitudes; and now, for the first time, felt that they could “rejoice and be exceeding glad” because they were suffering as the prophets had suffered before them (Matthew 5:11-12). And they were suffering for His Name, or rather, with the best MSS., “for the Name”—for that of the Master who had loved them and whom they had learnt to love. We may note, too, in the whole history, the fulfilment of the prediction and the promise of Matthew 10:17-20.

Acts 5:41. And they departed from the presence of the council — As soon as they were dismissed, not in the least terrified by the cruel usage they had met with, nor by the threatenings of their adversaries. See the power of the grace of God! These are the men who forsook Christ when the soldiers came to apprehend him, not daring to be seen in his company: yet now they profess his name, and abide by their profession, though they are derided and beaten for it. And we do not find that they said one word by way of reflection upon the court, for the unjust treatment given them: when reviled they reviled not again, and when they suffered they threatened not; but committed their cause to him, to whom Gamaliel had referred it, even to God, who judgeth righteously. All their care was to preserve the possession of their own souls, and to make full proof of their ministry, both which they were enabled to do in a manner worthy of the imitation of all ministers and people who may, at any time, be in similar circumstances. Nay, they departed, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame — Being men in reputation, who had never done any thing to make themselves vile, they could not but have a sense of the shame they suffered, which, it seems, was more grievous to them than the smart caused by the scourges, as uses to be the case with ingenuous minds. But they considered that it was for the name of Christ that they were thus abused, and that their sufferings would be made to contribute to the further advancement of his cause and glory; and, therefore, 1st, They reckoned it an honour to be so treated, to be disgraced, or exposed to infamy for his name — His venerable and sacred name; rightly judging that a punishment of this kind, though generally shameful, became a glory to them when borne in so excellent a cause, and for the sake of him who, though so divinely great, and so perfectly happy, had submitted, not only to stripes, but to death for them. 2d, They rejoiced in it, remembering what their Master had said to them at their first setting out, Matthew 5:11; Matthew 5:13; When men shall revile and persecute you, rejoice and be exceeding glad. They rejoiced not only though they suffered shame, their troubles not diminishing their joy, but that they suffered shame, for their troubles increased their joy, and added to it. Reader, if we suffer ill for doing well, provided we suffer in a right spirit, and as we should, we ought to rejoice in that grace which enables us so to do.5:34-42 The Lord still has all hearts in his hands, and sometimes directs the prudence of the worldly wise, so as to restrain the persecutors. Common sense tells us to be cautious, while experience and observation show that the success of frauds in matters of religion has been very short. Reproach for Christ is true preferment, as it makes us conformable to his pattern, and serviceable to his interest. They rejoiced in it. If we suffer ill for doing well, provided we suffer it well, and as we should, we ought to rejoice in that grace which enabled us so to do. The apostles did not preach themselves, but Christ. This was the preaching that most offended the priests. But it ought to be the constant business of gospel ministers to preach Christ: Christ, and him crucified; Christ, and him glorified; nothing beside this, but what has reference to it. And whatever is our station or rank in life, we should seek to make Him known, and to glorify his name.Rejoicing - Nothing to most people would seem more disgraceful than a public whipping. It is a punishment inflicted usually not so much because it gives "pain," as because it is esteemed to be attended with disgrace. The Jewish rulers doubtless desired that the apostles might be so affected with the sense of this disgrace as to be unwilling to appear again in public, or to preach the gospel anymore. Yet in this they were disappointed. The effect was just the reverse. If it be asked why they rejoiced in this manner, we may reply:

(1) Because they were permitted thus to imitate the example of the Lord Jesus. He had been scourged and reviled, and they were glad that they were permitted to be treated as he was. Compare Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:13, "Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings."

(2) because, by this, they had evidence that they were the friends and followers of Christ. It was clear they were engaged in the same cause that he was. They were enduring the same sufferings, and striving to advance the same interests. As they loved the "cause," they would rejoice in enduring even the shame and sufferings which the cause, of necessity, involved. The kingdom of the Redeemer was an object so transcendently important, that for it they were willing to endure all the afflictions and disgrace which it might involve.

(3) they had been told to "expect" this, and they now rejoiced that they had This evidence that they were engaged in the cause of truth. Matthew 5:11-12; Matthew 10:17, Matthew 10:22; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 1:29; James 1:2.

(4) Religion appears to a Christian so excellent and lovely, that he is willing, for its sake, to endure trial, persecution, and death. With "all" this, it is infinite gain; and we should be willing to endure these trials, if, by them, we may gain a crown of glory. Compare Mark 10:30.

(5) Christians are the professed friends of Christ. We show attachment for friends by being willing to suffer for them; to bear contempt and reproach on their account; and to share "their" persecutions, sorrows, and calamities.

(6) the apostles were engaged in a cause of innocence, truth, and benevolence. They had "done" nothing of which to be ashamed; and they rejoiced, therefore, in a conscience void of offence, and in the consciousness of integrity and benevolence. When other people "disgrace" themselves by harsh, or vile, or opprobrious language or conduct toward "us," we should not feel that the disgrace belongs to "us." It is "theirs"; and we should not be ashamed or distressed, though their rage should fall on us. See 1 Peter 4:14-16.

Counted worthy - Esteemed to be deserving. That is, esteemed "fit" for it "by the Sanhedrin." It does not mean that "God" esteemed them worthy, but that the Jewish council judged them fit to suffer shame in this cause. They evinced so much zeal and determination of purpose that they were judged fit objects to be treated as the Lord Jesus had himself been.

To suffer shame - To be "dishonored" or "disgraced" in the estimation of the Jewish rulers. The "particular" disgrace to which reference is made here was "whipping." To various other kinds of shame they were also exposed. They were persecuted, reviled, and finally put to death. Here we may remark that a profession of the Christian religion has been in all ages esteemed by many to be a "disgrace." The "reasons" are:

(1) That Jesus is himself despised;

(2) That his precepts are opposed to the gaiety and follies of the world;

(3) That it attacks that on which the people of the world pride themselves;

(4) That it requires a "spirit" which the world esteems mean and grovelling - meekness, humility, self-denial, patience, forgiveness of injuries; and,

(5) That it requires "duties" - prayer, praise, seriousness, benevolence. All these things the people of the world esteem degrading and mean, and hence, they endeavor to subject those who practice them to disgrace. The "kinds" of disgrace to which Christians have been subjected are too numerous to be mentioned here. In former times they were subjected to the loss of property, of reputation, and to all the shame of public punishment, and to the terrors of the dungeon, the stake, or the rack. One main design of persecution was to select a kind of punishment so "disgraceful" as to deter others from professing religion. Disgrace even yet may attend it. It may subject one to the ridicule of friends - of even a father, mother, or brother. Christians hear their opinions abused; their names vilified; their Bible travestied; the name of their God profaned, and of their Redeemer blasphemed. Their feelings are often wantonly and rudely torn by the cutting sarcasm or the bitter sneer. Books and songs revile them; their specialties are made the occasion of indecent merriment on the stage and in novels; and in this way they are still subjected to shame for the name of Jesus. Every one who becomes a Christian should remember that this is a part of his inheritance, and should not esteem it dishonorable to be treated as his Master was before him, John 15:18-20; Matthew 10:25.

continued...

41. departed … rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name—"thought worthy by God to be dishonored by man" (Mt 5:12; 1Pe 4:14, 16) [Webster and Wilkinson]. This was their first taste of persecution, and it felt sweet for His sake whose disciples they were. Rejoicing; it argued full persuasion of the truth, and great resolution to abide by it, that they could account so foul a disgrace for Christ’s sake to be an honour.

That they were counted worthy to suffer; it is a condescension and favour, when God uses any to give testimony unto his trnth, although it be by their suffering: Philippians 1:29, Unto you it is given, not only to believe, but to suffer; as if to suffer for Christ were as great, if not a greater gift than to believe in him.

Shame; scourging being a servile and disgraceful punishment.

For his name; Christ’s name, or for Christ’s sake, to assert his truth, &c.: some do not read the pronoun, but the name, put absolutely for God, as was usual amongst the Jews, out of reverence to God’s name, lest they should profane it. And they departed from the presence of the council,.... Having been threatened and beaten by them:

rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name; Beza's ancient copy, and others; the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions read, "for the name of Jesus"; in which name they were forbid to speak, and for speaking in it they were beaten; the Alexandrian copy, and the Syriac version read, "for the name": that is, for God, for the glory of God, and in the cause of God; "the name", is often used in Jewish writings for God: the shame they suffered for him was by being scourged with forty stripes save one; which was reckoned an infamous and ignominious punishment, and which was inflicted on persons guilty of very scandalous crimes (y): but this gave the innocent minds of the apostles no uneasiness; they accounted it an honour conferred on them to be called to suffering for the sake of God and Christ, and in so good a cause; they did what Christ exhorted them to, Matthew 5:11 which shows they had much of the presence of God, and large measures of grace communicated to them, by which they were supported; and thus cheerfully bore all indignity and reproach, for the name of Christ, which was exceeding dear and precious to them.

(y) Misn. Maccot, c. 3. sect. 1-10.

{15} And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

(15) The apostles, accustomed to suffer and bear words, are eventually accustomed to bearing stripes, and yet in such a way that by means of them they become stronger.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
f

Acts 5:41 f. Χαίροντες] comp. Matthew 5:11-12ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος] placed first with emphasis: for the name, for its glorification. For the scourging suffered tended to that effect, because it was inflicted on the apostles on account of their stedfast confession of the name. Comp. Acts 9:16. “Quum reputarent causam, praevalebat gaudium,” Calvin. The absolute τὸ ὄνομα denotes the name κατʼ ἐξοχήν,—namely, “Jesus Messiah” (Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10), the confession and announcement of which was always the highest and holiest concern of the apostles. Analogous is the use of the absolute שֵׁם (Leviticus 24:11; Leviticus 24:16), in which the Hebrew understood the name of his Jehovah as implied of itself. Comp. 3 John 1:7.

κατηξιώθ. ἀτιμασθ.] An oxymoron. Comp. Php 1:29; 2 Corinthians 11:26-30; Galatians 6:14; Galatians 6:17, al.; 1 Peter 2:19.

πᾶσαν ἡμέραν] every day the οὐκ ἐπαύοντο in preaching took place. See Winer, p. 162 [E. T. 214]. They did it day after day without cessation.

κατʼ οἶκον] domi, in the house, a contrast to ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. See on Acts 2:46.

ἀνεπαύοντο διδάσκοντες] See Herm. ad Viger. p. 771; Bernhardy, p. 477.

καὶ εὐαγγελ. Ἰησ. τ. Χ.] and announcing Jesus as the Messiah, a more specific definition of διδάσκοντες as regards its chief contents.Acts 5:41. οἱ μὲν οὖν: no answering δέ as after Acts 1:6, Acts 2:41, but explained because immediately upon ἐπορεύοντο (which answers to ἀπέλυσαν) follows χαίροντες, marking the attitude of the Apostles, and showing how little they proposed to obey the injunction from fear of further punishment. But see also Mr. Rendall’s note, and also his Appendix on μὲν οὖν, Acts, p. 163, in which he examines this view at length; according to him there is an answering δέ, but it is found in the antithesis to this sentence in chap. Acts 6:1, the connection being that the Apostles now became more absorbed in their spiritual work, and a murmuring arose in consequence of their neglect of the distribution of the common funds. But this antithesis does not seem natural, and a censure on the Apostles is not necessarily contained in Acts 6:1. ff.—ἐπορεύοντο χαίροντες: “imperf. quia describitur modus” (Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 186; if one prophecy of their Lord had been already fulfilled, another was fulfilled in the sequel, Matthew 5:11-12, Php 1:29.—κατηξιώθησανἀτιμασθῆναι: oxymoron, cf. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10; cf. Bengel’s note—he calls it “eximium oxy.”. The verb καταξ. is used by St. Luke in his Gospel, Acts 20:35 (Acts 21:36, T.R., but not W.H[187] or R.V.), and here; only found once elsewhere, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, in a passage where the thought of Christian suffering and inheritance is combined; 2Ma 13:12, 3Ma 3:21; 3Ma 4:11, 4Ma 18:3. ἀτιμασθῆναι only used once elsewhere by St. Luke, cf. Luke 20:11, where it is also found in connection with δέρω.—ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόμ., “the Name”—i.e., the Name κατʼ ἐξοχήν, cf. 3 John 1:7, and Jam 5:14 (Acts 2:7) (τοῦ Κ. doubtful), cf. also Clem. Rom., 2 Cor. (so called), xiii. 4, Ignat., Ephes., iii., 1, used here as the absolute use of שֵׁם in Leviticus 24:11; Leviticus 24:16, by which the Jews understood Jehovah. See Grimm, Mayor’s St. James above, and Taylor, Pirke Aboth, p. 67, second edition; cf. τῆς ὁδοῦ, “the Way,” Acts 9:2, etc.—πᾶσάν τε ἡμέραν: the τε joins the imperfect ἐπαύοντο closely to the preceding, indicating the continuance of the work of the Apostles in spite of threats and blows, and of their resolve to welcome suffering for Christ as an honour = κατὰ πᾶσαν ἡμέραν. This use of παύεσθαι with the participle almost entirely in Luke and Paul may be regarded as a remains of literary usage, Luke 5:4, Colossians 1:9, Ephesians 1:16 (Hebrews 10:2); Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 193 (1893).—ἐν τῷ ἱερ. καὶ κατʼ οἶκον: the words may mark a contrast between the public preaching which was not discontinued, cf. Acts 5:21, and the teaching continued at home in a household assembly, or κατά may be taken distributively, and refer to the Christian assemblies met together in various houses in the city, as in Acts 2:46. See Zöckler’s note, and Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, pp. 259, 260.—τὸν Χρ. .: “Jesus as the Christ,” R.V. The contents of the first Apostolic preaching, the sum and substance of the Apostles’ message to their fellow-countrymen. This is allowed and insisted upon by Schwegler, Renan, and others, but in the statement what an intimate knowledge of the life of Jesus is presupposed, and how great must have been the impression made by Him upon His daily companions!

[187] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.41. worthy to suffer shame] The Apostles count as their glory what the world would count as shame, cp. Galatians 6:14, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This figure of speech (called oxymoron, and consisting in the effective contrast of words apparently opposite) is common in the New Testament. Cp. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10.

for his name] Read with the best authorities, for the Name. That name of which St Peter had said (Acts 4:12), “There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”Acts 5:41. Χαίροντες, rejoicing) The characteristic of truth—in afflictions, joy, real, profound, and pure.—ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος, for the name) viz. His name, the name forbidden in Acts 5:40. Some have added, τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, or τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, or τοῦ Χριστοῦ.[43] The phrase is put absolutely, as in 3 John Acts 5:7, ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ὈΝΌΜΑΤΟς: Leviticus 24:11. The name Jesus had been expressed by Luke in the preceding verse. The reference in this verse is to it with an elegant ellipsis of the pronoun.—κατηξιώθησαν ἀτιμασθῆναι, they were counted worthy to suffer insult [shame]) A choice Oxymoron [see Append.]: so, “To you it is given to suffer,Php 1:29 : comp. 1 Peter 2:19. [Contumely before men is a dignity before GOD.—V. g.]

[43] ABCDd Memph. Theb. and Syr. read simply ὀνόματος. Rec. Text adds αὐτοῦ with Orig., and, acc. to Tisch., with Lucif. (But Lachm. quotes Lucif. for ὀνόματος simply.) Ee adds Ἰησοῦ (and so Vulg.), or τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ.—E. and T.Verse 41. - They therefore for and they, A.V.; dishonor for the Name, for shame for his Name, A.V. and T.R. (see 1 Peter 4:12-16; John 15:21). They were counted worthy to suffer shame (κατηξιώθησαν ἀτιμασθῆναι)

This is an instance of what rhetoricians style an oxymoron, from ὀξύς, sharp, and μωρός, foolish; a pointedly foolish saying, which is witty or impressive through sheer contradiction or paradox, as laborious idleness, sublime indifference. In this case the apostles are described as dignified by indignity.

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