How are you all doing? I hope you are finding some connections in the readings we are sharing. Monday is a reflection day. At the end of today’s post, you will find a couple of questions to ponder on Monday. Don’t forget to be still and listen to God every so often. We can get so busy, even studying the bible, that we forget to sit back and listen and see how God would like us to apply all that we are learning.
Chapters 3 & 4 show us the very beginnings of what the apostles and believers were facing. Peter performs a miracle at the temple gate. He heals a lame man who sat at the gate for 40 years begging. He tells this man that he has no money for him, but in the name of Jesus Christ, he tells him to get up an walk. The crowds were astonished! Peter seizes this opportunity to preach in the temple about Jesus. He reminds the people that they chose to crucify Jesus, yet he rose and fulfilled the Scriptures! He tells them to repent and turn toward God right now! Do they listen to him? Many do listen. They are drawn in by the miraculous healing they witnessed and the words of Peter.
Now, there were those who were taken in and there were others who were not too thrilled with the appearance of Peter and John in the temple. The leading priests did not like Peter claiming a resurrection after death, on the authority of Jesus Christ. Peter and John were arrested and held overnight. When the council brought them in for questioning, they were filled with words of the Holy Spirit. They spoke of Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection. They spoke of the Scriptures being fulfilled. In Chapter 4, verse 11, Peter says, “The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else!”
The leading priests and the council were disturbed to say the least. They did not like to feel threatened by commoners and they certainly did not like anyone to tell them they were wrong. However, many people believed Peter and John and they believed in the resurrection. If the council acted harshly, there could be a riot. If they did not act harshly, the news of Jesus would continue to spread. They were perplexed. After some time, they let Peter and John go.
Peter and John recognized the severity of the situation and they realized that this was just the beginning of a long and difficult journey. They gathered all of the believers together and prayed to God. They prayed for boldness in preaching, healing powers, miraculous signs, and wonders all to be done in Jesus’ name. As they concluded their prayer, the building shook where they were meeting and the Holy Spirit filled all of the believers.
So, now I want you to take a few moments and think. Imagine you were one of those first believers. Do you think you would have the courage to go and preach in the temple? Preach things that you knew could get you arrested or killed? Do you think you would be able to stand up to the council in the name of Jesus? Or, do you think you might be scared and cave under pressure? Might you run and hide or tell them what they want to hear to save yourself for the moment?
See, if I am just thinking about this in the moment I am in right now, I think I would be scared. I think I would want to stand up and be strong, but I’m not sure if I would be brave enough. However, with the Holy Spirit, I know I could! And that is what we all need to remember. We are not in this alone! We are only as strong as our faith in Jesus!
Monday, take some reflection time and think about the questions above. How would you react if you were Peter or John? If you were a new believer? Share with us if you would like in the comments section.
Saturday – Chapter 3
Sunday – Chapter 4
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions
Blessings my friends!