Friday 2 November, 2012

Acts 4:1-12

4 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. 5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Peter and John were at the temple telling people that Jesus had risen from the dead and they too could have eternal life if they believed in Jesus.  The people had also just witnessed a lame man being healed in the name of Jesus.  As a consequence of this in excess of 5,000 people believed the message about Jesus Christ.  It was a true work of God’s spirit!

Nonetheless the religious leaders of that time rejected the message of Jesus and placed Peter and John in jail overnight.  They were having too much influence on the people.  The next day the religious leaders wanted to know how the lame man had been healed. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, explains that the man was healed by the name of Jesus.  Peter also goes onto explain that there is no salvation other than that offered through Jesus Christ.

Peter also put the religious leaders in their place by making reference to Ps 118:22 ie. You rejected the message of Jesus Christ and now that message has become central to how we do life with God going forward.  Jesus is likened to the foundation stone of a building to which all other stones or believers will be referenced.

What message are we bringing to people?  One of religion or one of faith, hope and love?  Religion did nothing for that lame man for 40 years.  Two faith filled believers changed all that when they said, “Get up and walk in the name of Jesus.”  If we want to move forward with God it will require bold faith.  If we hang onto religious notions and ideals we will remain stationary like the lame man.

Lord, thank you for the powerful name of Jesus.  Help me to bring a message of faith and hope to those around me. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

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