Read - Acts 4v1-22
Message - Scott Woodburn
Peter was clear that the response to the lame beggar's healing was to be repentance and faith in Jesus. Indeed many received Christ bringing the number of men to about five thousand (v4). Unfortunately, the powers-that-be didn't heed this call and instead arrested Peter and John in a bid to silence their message of Christ and His resurrection (v1-3)
They wanted to know how the beggar had been healed (v7) and were quickly reminded of Christ. Peter didn't shrink away, instead filled with the Holy Spirit and with great boldness proclaimed that it was by the name of Jesus that the beggar was now walking (v10). Peter's questioners knew this name. They had crucified Jesus and rejected Him but this same Christ had now become the cornerstone (v11). Peter couldn't have been clearer. There is salvation in no one else. If you would be right with God, if you would be saved, then Christ is the One who must be trusted (v12).
The boldness of Peter and John left their accusers astonished (v13). The Apostles were uneducated common men and yet they taught with power and confidence. They knew that Peter and John had been with Christ (v13b) but as the lame beggar was now standing beside them the gathered accusers had nothing to say (v14).
At this stage you might think the events of the past day and testimony of the Apostles might cause the council to pause. They had heard an extraordinary message that had been underlined by an extraordinary healing. They know themselves that they cannot deny what has happened (v16). The man was more than forty years old (v22) and here he was standing straight and praising God. Perhaps all of this would cause the council to repent and trust Christ? Sadly not.
They can't find any grounds to punish these men for such a good deed but they warn them to be quiet and to no longer teach in the name of Jesus (v17). What a tragedy! An amazing work and word is before them and they choose to ignore it and try to silence it. The Apostles refuse (v19-20) and the people continue praising (v21) but the council remain resolute in their opposition to the Gospel.
It is still this way. The Gospel is preached faithfully in this land and yet many oppose it at every turn. Many have heard the Gospel since they sat on their mother's knee and yet relegate it to the dim and distant past. They see evidence of God's work and they hear God's word but still it is not enough. What is to be done? Brothers and sisters, knowing that God can melt even the hardest heart, continue to pray and continue to proclaim. If the Gospel is as glorious as we think then let us with boldness take every opportunity to speak of Christ. It is the power of God for the salvation of all who will believe.
To everyone else. Christ has been crucified for sin and rose again from the dead. He will return and you will stand before Him. Will you stand as His friend or His enemy? If you would be saved from His anger then do not go silently from this devotion. Repent of your sins and trust in Christ and you will be saved.
Q74 What is required in the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.