Experience - Day 23

Acts of the Apostles 4: 5-12, NLT

5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

Peter and John spent the night in jail because there are consequences to following Jesus.  A friend once shared that truth with me at a critical time in my life, that if I truly wanted to surrender all to follow Jesus, that there would be consequences.  Some of the consequences are good; a life of meaning and purpose, a growing love for God and people, the opportunity to share Him with others.  But some of those consequences can cause pain, like being misunderstood, or being called names like a heretic or demon-possessed or an apostate, or having every one of your beliefs investigated and called into question, or losing out on job opportunities because of your Jesus associations.  And yes, all of these have happened.

But when you are convicted that Jesus was who He said He was, God in the flesh, when you realize what He came to do, save us all from our sins and restore us to the life He wanted us to have in the first place, that is news you can’t help but share with other people, no matter the consequences.

Of course, the religious rulers want to know by what authority the disciples are acting.  Notice that Luke tells us that Annas and Caiaphas were presiding, both of whom had a part in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  Peter and John had watched some of that trial, they knew that justice wasn’t served, and they may have wondered if history would repeat itself so quickly.  Would their current trial end in death as Jesus’ had done?  Only time would tell.

But one difference is clear between the trial of Jesus from just a few weeks before, and what happens now.  This time, Peter and John don’t go on the run.  They don’t hide?  They don’t deny.  This time, they stand tall and strong before their accusers, and they profess the name of Jesus as the only name by which we can be saved.  They are bold, clear, and unwavering.  How?  Thanks to the Holy Spirit taking residence in them, coupled with what they had seen and heard, their convictions are clear.  It is only by the name of Jesus that they are able to heal, only by the name of Jesus that they can be saved, and it is under the name of Jesus that they have been given authority to act.

The religious leaders hated that Jesus’ name continued to be preached, but as we’ll find out in tomorrow’s passage, there were things they couldn’t deny  that took place under that same name (like the healed beggar).  There was fruit from this Jesus movement that was making a positive impact in the lives of others, and the religious leaders would have to make up a whole lot of stuff to make it appear as if that wasn’t the case.  But just as Jesus said, we will know them by their fruits, and no matter how hard the religious leaders tried to stop the fruit of the gospel, there was nothing they could do to make that happen.

  1. Have you ever faced negative consequences because of your faith?  If so, what were they and why do you think that happened or is happening?
  2. What fruit do you think is being produced in your life because of your faith?  Is it good fruit, bringing more life to you and those around you?  Or, is it bad fruit, causing harm to you and those around you?
  3. Peter and John stood tall and acted boldly even in the face of danger.  They did so in part because the Holy Spirit had taken up residence in them.  Do you believe you have a received the Holy Spirit? If so, how do you see the evidence of the Spirit in your life?  If not, why not, and might it be time to talk with a mentor, pastor, or friend about your journey so that the Spirit may take up residence in your life?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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