Acts 4

Acts 4 is the story of Peter and John being dragged before the priests and leaders who were “greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection”.  Killing Jesus hadn’t silenced the movement.  So “they arrested them and put them in custody”.  Another attempt to shut down those who believe in Jesus.  But they had a problem because “many of those who had heard the word believed….the number of men came to about five thousand”.  This isn’t a small problem – it is growing rapidly and people are hearing, seeing and believing in Jesus faster after His death than while He lived among them.  So they bring the two before the high priest and his cronies and Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addresses them this way: “if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done…..by the name of Jesus…..by him this man is standing before you well”.  Peter doesn’t make excuses.  He challenges them and calls them to face the facts.  This lame guy is healed by the name of Jesus.  It wasn’t about them at all – it was about Jesus and Peter continues saying “there is salvation in no one else….for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”.  That doesn’t leave much wiggle room my friends.  It is very clear.  You want to spend eternity with God – Jesus is the way.  You want to be saved from your sin – Jesus is the way.  You want to go to heaven – Jesus is the way.  Not “a” way – Jesus is “THE” way.  There is not alternative – no other route – no other person who ever lived on this planet who can save you from yourself and your sin.  Peter exhibits boldness in his situation – he does not flinch because he is standing before the big whigs of the day.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit was in him and upon him.  He was not doing this on his own – he was walking in obedience to the Spirit.  And then, Peter shows us what we need to do when we are faced with the same challenge.

The religious leaders warn them to keep their mouths shut about Jesus and “charged them not to speak or teach”.  Peter and John answer this instruction this way: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”.  There was no intimidation that was going to stop Peter and John from talking about Jesus.  The leaders had nothing to charge them with so they had to let them go.  And a celebration ensued.  Then they gathered and prayed and asked God to help them to “continue to speak your word with all boldness”.  That is what we are called to do – to speak boldly of our walk with Jesus.  We sometimes are timid or afraid to even let people know we are a Christ Follower at all – let alone be one who boldly proclaims our relationship.  Why do we act that way?  In a word – it is fear – the fear of man that causes us to cower and hide our faith.  We need to learn from Peter and John and just live the life openly like they did: “with great power the apostles were giving their testimony”.  They shared what Jesus had done in their life.  They lived it openly.  They did not live cautiously but completely sold out to him.  Are you sold out to Jesus?  Are you living your testimony every day, moment by moment? 

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