Tuesday, August 17, 2010

making a difference

The healing of the lame man recorded in Acts, chapter 3, led to quite a disturbance.  Peter launched into a powerful sermon to explain that the One who had performed the healing was the same one that many in the temple had insisted on crucifying in the recent past.  Peter explained that Jesus had been foretold by Moses and that He had come to pay the price for their sins and to make it possible to be cleansed and given a new life.  The priests and rulers of the temple decided to arrest Peter and John because they were preaching that there was a resurrection from the dead and this was contrary to their doctrine.  However, the effect of the miraculous healing and Peter's sermon were powerful on the people and five thousand put their trust in Jesus.  After being held in custody overnight the two Apostles were interrogated by the high priest.  Peter, once again, gave glory to Jesus for the healing of the previous day.  He took advantage of this new platform, even as a prisoner, to clearly proclaim Jesus and His fulfillment of the writings of the prophets.  The ones listening to Peter were the same authorities who had dragged Jesus to Pilate.  They certainly could have had Peter and John executed as well.  But something had changed since the Cross.  People in large numbers were coming to believe in this resurrected Messiah and, as political figures, the authorities were very sensitive to the mood of the people.  They thought that killing Jesus would end the problem but now they were encountering an unexpected explosion of interest in the one they thought they'd eliminated.  In fact, people were giving great glory to God as a result of the miracle and the temple leaders found themselves in direct opposition to sincere worship of the Lord.  As a result, the priests and council settled for threats and turned Peter and John loose.  The message that emerges to me is that when we live and stand for the Lord, His presence and power become undeniable and His work of salvation changes even earthly politics and forces.  Peter and John probably didn't know how they would be treated as prisoners...their most recent example was that of Jesus.  But instead of fleeing from fear, they stood and acted and spoke with His Spirit's empowerment...A new time had arrved.
Acts4:19,21 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge"...So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.
Rob Smith

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