Tuesday 21 June, 2016

Acts 4:13-22

13 The leaders saw how bold Peter and John were. They also realized that Peter and John were ordinary men with no training. This surprised the leaders. They realized that these men had been with Jesus. 14 The leaders could see the man who had been healed. He was standing there with them. So there was nothing they could say. 15 They ordered Peter and John to leave the Sanhedrin. Then they talked things over. 16 “What can we do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed an unusual miracle. We can’t say it didn’t happen. 17 We have to stop this thing. It must not spread any further among the people. We have to warn these men. They must never speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 Once again the leaders called in Peter and John. They commanded them not to speak or teach at all in Jesus’ name. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right from God’s point of view? Should we listen to you? Or should we listen to God? You be the judges! 20 There’s nothing else we can do. We have to speak about the things we’ve seen and heard.” 21 The leaders warned them again. Then they let them go. They couldn’t decide how to punish Peter and John. They knew that all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 The man who had been healed by the miracle was over 40 years old.

Two things stand out for me. Both from vs 13.

#1. They were ordinary men. Nothing special, nothing unusual, nothing that would normally make them stand out from the crowd. Except #2. The authorities recognized that they had been with Jesus.

What gave that away? The way they talked? Their boldness or their words? The signs or miracles? The result of having been with Jesus was that people recognised that they had been with Jesus by the way they spoke, their actions etc. Time spent with Jesus influenced their behaviour.

So I ask myself, what do my actions tell others about who I have been spending time with? Are my actions and language of faith? Or are they actions of doubt, fear, worry etc. When I’m not spending time with Jesus it shows. I worry, I doubt, and I fear. But when I spend time with Jesus, my fears and worry go, and faith replaces doubt.

Spend more time with Jesus, time in His Word, time with the Holy Spirit and we become more like him and the people will recognise that we have been with Jesus.

Lord Jesus, as I spend more time with you in your Word, let the presence of the Holy Spirit change me, from inside out, so that people will recognise that I spend time with you.

Written by Andrew Martin

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    What a fascinating passage where the power of God is on display right next to the power of tradition and politics. A clash develops between these two powers. Peter & John have effected a significant miracle that cannot be denied and are hauled over the coals for it. They experience significant push back by intimidating authorities. They hold their ground such is the strength of their convictions and belief in Jesus. When told to stop they simply ask others to judge the rightness of what they are doing, their conviction stands, they will do what God requires not man.

    This begs the question for me, where am I at in relation to powerful authorities when they say one thing and Christ calls it differently. I cannot simply use Jesus Name for my benefit to advance my causes, I know that, but what of His causes.

    Peter & John had shown they were about Jesus’ cause by the healing they brought. They were not so much political activists as Kingdom establishers and that is what I am called to do.

    Father help me stay true to Your call at all times, even when others seek to intimidate me if I do things they do not agree with but You do.

  2. Justin Ware says:

    The Sanhedrin was the court of the temple in Jerusalem. It had been granted political and judicial power by the Roman government to give the Jewish people who were under Roman occupation a sense of measured autonomy.

    The Sanhedrin would have been made up of people of great influence. People who had worked their way through a very complex legal and social structure to a position of great authority and great responsibility.

    Yet the way that they react to Peter and John suggests that their integrity was not completely intact.

    This leads me to reflect on how I would lead and manage in a similar situation where I had been given authority in a worldly domain and responsibility for maintaining order in an environment of opposing ideas.

    My reflections are quite convicting as I quickly realise that my focus is dangerously balanced between desiring to please people and desiring to please God.

    I know that my deepest desire is to please God alone, but I know that I also make poor decisions at times because I also want to please people.

    Reflecting on this passage, I can see that the Sanhedrin and the High Priest would have been seeking to maintain order in their society to please the powerful Roman Government. Claims of miracles and people being raised from the dead could lead to an uprising and an upsetting of the already unstable social fabric of their society.

    While I have found it easy to judge the Sanhedrin in the past, today I have realised that I struggle with the same inner failings that they did. My only advantage is that I have Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit.

    Lord, help me to recognise when you are at work around me and help me to seek first Your Kingdom, to seek to please You above all else.

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