Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Acts 4

    The aftermath of the healing of the crippled man leads to Peter and John's arrest and a hearing before the Sanhedrin Council. The Sanhedrin was the day to day decision making body in Jerusalem. It held its power and authority under the Roman rule and was closely watched and worked under some strict restrictions. Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit, uses this an another opportunity to preach the resurrected Christ. I love verse 13: "When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus." I love the thought that the only outstanding thing about Peter and John is that they had been companions of Jesus. Shouldn't being a companion of Jesus be the identifying mark of every Christian? Shouldn't the time we spend with Jesus be seen in and through us and, with what one of my former bishops liked to call, "holy boldness." Peter and John are told not to preach but reply to this restriction that they must obey God rather than human rules. This leads to further threats but, at this point, not in violent action against the first Christian leaders.
    Upon returning to the church that has gathered, they prayed. They do not pray for an easier life. They do not pray for comfort in their difficulty. They do not pray to be freed from this confrontation or their troubles. They pray that God might "grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness (29)." This prayer is responded to by God with a house shaking encounter and, true to their prayer, they spoke with even more boldness. Wesley once said give me 100 who hate nothing but sin and love nothing but God and I will change the world. Here in Acts there are 120 (now 3120) who are loving God and hating sin and changing the world.

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