Bible Reading Day 171
Good morning !
Yesterday we saw Peter and John challenging the crowd to follow Jesus. Today we see the result: they get the same reaction from the religious authorities as Jesus did! The temple guards arrest them and they are kept in jail overnight, accused of being heretics. Yet the crowd respond to the message, and now the number of believers is over 5000 men (so approximately 12,000 people including women and children).
While we were reading the gospels we frequently contrasted the life, freedom and power offered by Jesus with the narrow, fault-finding religion of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others. The contrast remains after Pentecost, but now there is a difference. We mentioned yesterday that, when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, our focus shifts from ourselves to others, reflecting God’s priority on finding and recovering the lost. Well those who are rejecting the narrowness of religious rules are being filled with the same Holy Spirit as the apostles; the number of fearless opponents of religion is growing exponentially.
Facing the religious council the next day, Peter and John are fearless. Having gained salvation as a free gift, knowing their Savior and Lord has already ascended to heaven, and is preparing a place for them, they have nothing left to lose. They lay it out bluntly, just as Jesus might have done, had He been present in person: the beggar was healed “by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.”
In other words “You tried to stamp out what God was doing, because it threatened your power-base, but God has over-ruled you”! Now religion has no power to silence these men and women. They have gained so much that there is nothing to lose. they tell the Council “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
Have you reflected recently on what God has given you in Jesus? Recognition makes thankful, and thankfulness makes bold!
Have a great day!