5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas, the high priest, was there. So were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and other people in the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought to them. They wanted to question them. “By what power did you do this?” they asked. “And through whose name?” 8 Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. He said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 Are you asking us to explain our actions today? Do you want to know why we were kind to a man who couldn’t walk? Are you asking how he was healed? 10 Then listen to this, you and all the people of Israel! You nailed Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the cross. But God raised him from the dead. It is through Jesus’ name that this man stands healed in front of you. 11 Scripture says that Jesus is “ ‘the stone you builders did not accept. But it has become the most important stone of all.’ (Psalm 118:22) 12 You can’t be saved by believing in anyone else. God has given people no other name under heaven that will save them.”
I can just imagine the scene. The human authorities and important persons dressed in splendid clothing, standing tall and forming a large group. In their hands the power to make decisions, the power to support or oppose, detain or release. Peter and John, just two men, are ordered to stand before them, this action alone confronting the pair with the reality of who was against them. And then they are asked a question, with a crowd of people intently listening to their every word… What frowning faces, what disapproval and rejection, what hatred and pride did Peter and John see in these faces? The scene is awful and I can feel fear on the inside of me as I contemplate the situation. What might these people do to Peter and John? What beatings or torture, what ridicule, or painful death?… The imagination could run wild with possibilities…
But Peter and John had a different perspective of the same experience. They were aware of God, ruling above these human authorities. They were aware of Jesus, who lived, died, was resurrected and ascended, who defeated sin and death. They were aware of the Holy Spirit, the same power who raised Jesus from the dead, living in them. Peter and John saw the human opposition in front of them, but were more aware of the God whom they served and whose side they were on. Facing opposition, facing hostility, God did not let them down. The Holy Spirit filled Peter and enabled him to speak with boldness and faith.
God, when I’m facing situations and feel outnumbered, overwhelmed, or uncertain, please help me to recall the truth that you are bigger, more powerful and sure than anything I can see. Help me to be aware of your greatness and presence and see things from your perspective. Amen
Written by Beth Waugh