“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.””
Acts 4:8-12 NKJV
The rubber meets the road
Days earlier, the disciples met in one accord, in relative safety, praying and fellowshipping together. They were in preparation for the great work the Lord had for them. I am sure some of them must have felt comfort in being hidden away, far from the view of a world that had not heard of Jesus or been presented with he Gospel.
Then the Helper, the Holy Spirit came, and power from above came down and filled them, equipping them for the work. The coming of the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, as they began to proclaim the glory of God in many tongues. The noise broke the quiet of the morning and filled air with proclamations of the LORD.
“Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.”
Acts 2:3-6 NKJV
As God had separated tongues and divided people at the tower of Babel, He now reunited them by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus signaling the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The disciples could no longer stay in the hiding place, as God had proclaimed the coming of the Helper loudly, and brought the first elect saints of the church to where they were. Days later, at the ninth hour, Peter and John went to temple. I am sure it was a busy place at that time. They had gone from the place of hiding, to the power center, the temple. On the way, God provided a divine appointment in the form of a lame man.
“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.””
Acts 3:2-6 NKJV
Like a strong light in pitch black darkness, the power of God came back to Jerusalem, as all saw the miracle, including the very men who killed the Lord Jesus.
There were no safe spaces now, as the rubber was hitting the road, and all that Jesus had taught them for three and half years was being put into practice. The truth that Jesus had taught them, that the world would hate them was coming to pass.
““If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
John 15:18-19 NKJV
There these simple fisherman stood against the most learned and powerful men in their world, yet they themselves were made more powerful because they had been with Jesus. When the question came, “in what name do you do this,” the answer came with power and authority. There was no room for discussion as Peter laid it all on the line.
Reading that passge in John chapter 4 this morning, was instructive for me. In so many ways, we are facing the same kind of battle today. We are in the midst of a culture that hates God, that is seeking with every breath to redefine what the bible says, what is to be Christian, and even redefine the person of Jesus. They have all instruments of power in the world.
We have Jesus!
Even though we face great pressure to soften our stances, we must not, because the Gospel message must go out, unfiltered. We must proclaim the truth of God’s word regardless of what is socially acceptable. Eternity is waiting, whether we like it or not. I suspect that soon there will be another outpouring, another commissioning, where those who truly desire to serve the Lord will be given more power to do so.
We must stand for Jesus even though the culture stands against us.
“So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 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. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.””
Acts 4:18-20 NKJV
The coming days will be a calling to be courageous, as we face major foes and obstacles. Be reminded that God is with you in the midst of any storm. In these coming times, fellowship will be crucial, prayer essential, and the word of God of primary importance. All that we do must be guided by love. Let us keep close to the Father as He is with us.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 4:29-31 NKJV