Monday 10 February, 2020

Acts 4:5-12

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 under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

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 Ps. Bethany Waugh

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