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They Had Been With Jesus

By Denny Lohr
 
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 4:1-31

 1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

 5The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"

 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then 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. 11He is
   " 'the stone you builders rejected,
      which has become the capstone.[a]'[b] 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

 13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16"What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."

 18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

 21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

The Believers' Prayer
 23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
   " 'Why do the nations rage
      and the peoples plot in vain?
 26The kings of the earth take their stand
      and the rulers gather together
      against the Lord
      and against his Anointed One.[c]'[d] 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people[e] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

 31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Devotion
Peter and John had healed a lame man and used that miracle as the platform to proclaim the good news of Jesus – His death and resurrection.  After spending the night in jail, they find themselves before the “rulers, elders, and scribes” to give an account "By what power or by what name have you done this?"   Without hesitation Peter boldly declared “that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, … this man stands here before you whole. “   In the midst of the leaders of Israel, Peter left no doubt about the authority of Jesus.  He also provides for us a foundational truth of scripture – “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  But where did this type of boldness and outspoken challenge come from?  The religious leaders, the educated of the day “perceived that they (Peter and John) were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

Do the people with whom we interact daily have the ability to see in us the same boldness for Jesus that the disciples demonstrated?  Do we declare to our friends and the world in general that only in the name of Jesus can salvation and freedom be found?  Would someone who asked about your spiritual impact be able to say “they have been with Jesus”?  I think that we too often want to “fit in”.  We don’t want to be different.  But Jesus calls us to be different.  In a world that is seeking meaning and purpose, Jesus is the only lasting answer – and we need to share it!

Near the close of today’s scripture reading in prayer the believers asked “grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word”.  May this be our prayer today.  The believers in Acts “were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness”.  As followers of Jesus Christ we have the same Holy Spirit who can move us to be bold in Jesus Christ and share the Good News – JESUS SAVES!  Will you and I do it today?

Prayer
Jesus, help me to have the boldness to share what you mean to me like the believers in the early church.  Please take my fear away and help me to show your love, care, and compassion to the world that you died to save.  Please help me to be bold in the power of your Holy Spirit.   Amen.