Note from Jesus
Dear Faithful Follower,
Yesterday, I asked you to read about the paralyzed man that I healed through Peter and John. I wanted you to see the refreshing new life that I brought not only to that man but also to all who turn to Me. Peter and John spoke about My power and presence being available because I had been raised from the dead. The Sanhedrin, the highest ranking religious body in Israel, had asked that I be put to death. In today’s verses, My disciples were standing before the same religious body, but they were not intimidated or afraid. Because of My resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they were undaunted!
As you might expect, the healing of the paralyzed man created a big stir among the religious leaders. “So they arrested Peter, John, and the man who was healed and kept them in jail overnight” (Acts 4:3). These religious leaders had a major problem: more than 3,000 people had already become My disciples, and the number was quickly becoming more than 5,000. The religious leaders hauled Peter and John in before them. This very same group that had asked the Roman Governor Pilate to have Me put to death now threatened My apostles.
Peter and John were unafraid! They spoke powerfully to the Sanhedrin, unfazed by the threats of these religious leaders and their earthly power. Peter and John’s opponents immediately recognized the problem:
Now the leaders were surprised and confused. They looked at Peter and John and realized they were typical peasants — uneducated, utterly ordinary fellows — with extraordinary confidence. The leaders recognized them as companions of Jesus…
In the next several chapters in the book of Acts, you will find that My disciples were threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and even martyred. They were put to death because of their faith in Me and their commitment to sharing My message with others. But they were not intimidated! They were undaunted!
As you look at their examples, I hope you will also be undaunted by those who oppose you, ridicule you, and ostracize you. Let your commitment to share My message of grace with the lost world around you propel you past your fear, and let My Spirit empower you to greater things than you can imagine.
Verses to Live
What you will read below comes from the continuing story of the religious leaders’ failed attempts to keep My apostles quiet. My apostles were committed to sharing My message. They were committed to reaching the lost. They were committed to honoring Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — in spite of any threat from any human power or person.
The leaders brought the prisoners [Peter and John] back in and prohibited them from doing any more speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and John listened quietly and then replied,
Peter and John:
You are the judges here, so we’ll leave it up to you to judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey your commands or God’s. But one thing we can tell you: we cannot possibly restrain ourselves from speaking about what we have seen and heard with our own eyes and ears.
After praying and being emboldened by the Spirit, My disciples continued to share the message about My life, death, resurrection, and grace. They continued to proclaim the good news, and their number grew rapidly as My power was demonstrated through them.
Those were amazing days — with many signs and wonders being performed through the apostles among the people. The church would gather as a unified group in Solomon’s Porch, enjoying great respect by the people of the city — though most people wouldn’t risk publicly affiliating with them. Even so, record numbers of believers — both men and women — were added to the Lord.
After being arrested and then miraculously delivered from jail (Acts 5:19), the apostles continued to proclaim My message, undaunted by the threats, beatings, and imprisonment. When questioned by the High Priest and the ruling council they remained undaunted:
The temple police — this time, accompanied by their captain — rushed over to the temple and brought the emissaries of the Lord to the council. They were careful not to use violence, because the people were so supportive of them that the police feared being stoned by the crowd if they were too rough. Once again the men stood before the council. The high priest began the questioning.
Didn’t we give you strict orders to stop teaching in this name? But here you are, spreading your teaching throughout Jerusalem. And you are determined to blame us for this man’s death.
Peter and the Apostles:
If we have to choose between obedience to God and obedience to any human authority, then we must obey God.
The council… brought the apostles back in. They were flogged, again told not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released. As they left the council, they weren’t discouraged at all. In fact, they were filled with joy over being considered worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of His name. And constantly, whether in public, in the temple, or in their homes, they kept teaching and proclaiming Jesus as the Anointed One, the Liberating King.
Response in Prayer
O Father, give us the courage to do Your will and the grace to share the message about Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. May we be as undaunted in our day as these early disciples were in their day! I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.