Most of you probably know the story of Acts 3, how Yeshua (Jesus) healed the lame man – through Peter and John. The man wasn’t even asking to be healed, but was apparently hoping for a handout. When asked about this healing, here’s what Peter said, refusing to take any credit for the spectacular healing-- but instead it led him to praise the name of Jesus (Yeshua).
Acts 3:16 “And His (Yeshua/Jesus) name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
When asked “by what power and by what name (by whose authority) have you done this?” – Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, then proceeded to make it very clear that the healing took place by and through the resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 4:7-12). The Jewish leaders then threatened the apostles and warned them to never speak in that name again.
We’re in a time when the whole nation of believers are being threatened and intimidated from even speaking the name of Jesus. We’re told we can’t have the 10 Commandments outside our court buildings. We can’t pray in schools or in the military without fear of retribution. There are groups out there that are fighting this, and worthy of our support (like Liberty Counsel and the ACLJ) – but it’s a steady, tiresome drumbeat that says “Keep God out of our lives, out of our country”. Our currency still says “In God we trust”. Our national pledge of allegiance still includes the words “one nation under God…” But for how long?
And then we wonder “where is God?” when bad things happen in our nation. Too many have told him they don’t want Him around – and then wonder where He is when things go badly.
Don’t be one of those. You and I – believers in the Messiah – must be like Peter. Listen to what said when he was threatened if he continue to speak about Yeshua, our King, our Redeemer and our Saviour.
Acts 4:18-34 “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Now the point of this blog: what Peter said to the elders threatening him should be the same feeling and conviction that wells powerfully inside ALL of us – Acts 4:20 – “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Question: are you and I so filled with the joy of our Savior’s presence and how He has redeemed, reconciled us to the Father and saved us – that we can’t help but speak of him?
Or do you ‘buy in” to the notion that your religion should be and should remain a private matter and that you never, as a rule, talk about religion, sex or politics -- as the saying goes?
Click on “Continue reading” to help each of us become more like Peter and the early believers.