By Kraig Sorvick
The Princess Bride. A beloved 1987 film deemed a “must-see” by many critics. The perfect blend of action, adventure, romance, comedy, and Fred Savage. If you haven’t seen it you’re missing out and you’ve also had 30 years to watch it so prepare for spoilers.
One of my favorite characters is a Spanish Fencer, Inigo Montoya. From his silly accent to his skillful sword fighting, Inigo’s subplot is almost greater than the main story line. When he was eleven, Inigo’s father was slaughtered by a six-fingered man. Inigo challenged his murderer to a duel and failed. The six-fingered man left him alive, but scarred his face. He dedicated his life to the study of fencing so the next time they met, he would go up to the six-fingered man and say: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Inigo constantly struggles with various barriers as he desperately tries to find his father’s killer. He never stops. At the end of the film, Inigo finds the six-fingered man, delivers his well-practiced line, and they duel. In a vicious sword fight, Inigo is severely injured, yet despite his wounds he continues to stand and fight, repeating his death sentence to his old enemy. Over and over he gets up. He never stops fighting. He eventually gains the upper hand, marking his father’s murderer with the same scars Inigo received as a child, and kills him.
Consider the attributes of Inigo Montoya. He continually faced challenges and barriers, motivated by the death of a loved one, and never stopped pursuing his goal.
Now take a look at the followers of Christ in the book of Acts. While not motivated by revenge, they continually faced challenges and barriers the religious leaders and Sanhedrin threw at them. They were motivated by the death and resurrection of Jesus. And they never stopped pursuing their goal of spreading the Gospel.
In Acts 5:17-42, the apostles have been imprisoned again for performing signs and wonders and preaching the Gospel. An angel of the Lord frees them from prison and tells them to continue to preach the Gospel. The Jewish leaders discover their captives preaching, apprehend them, and the apostles are tried again. The majority of the Jewish leaders want to kill the apostles but a prominent rabbi, Gamaliel, shares his wisdom and insight persuading the Sanhedrin to free them.
The apostles did not know when to stop. Because for them, there was no “when”. They never stopped. They were arrested and tried again and again, beaten, flogged for their preaching of the Gospel. Through punishments and oppression, they continued to stand up and fight for their faith. The knowledge they had in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was their key motivator. Unafraid, undaunted, and unintimidated by the Sanhedrin’s actions, they regularly pursued the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ.
A verse you must take away from this passage is verse 42.
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
The apostles faced regular trials and persecution. They were knocked down and consistently got back up. They pursued Christ and His Gospel and sought to tell everyone. They never stopped.
Have you ever had a barrier that has gotten in the way or demotivated you in your effort to teach and proclaim the Gospel?
I know that I have.
We should embrace the mentality of the early church. Our pursuit should be their pursuit. Our motivation should match their motivation. Never stop teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. Never stop.