This week’s reflections are written by Rev. Brian Johnston, one of our Associate Pastors here at St. Matthew’s
Rooted 2019 – Week Fifteen Day Three
Today’s reading is Acts 4: 1-22
You know, Jesus had warned us this might happen. In Luke 12:11-12 He said this, “When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say”. One of my favorite things about scripture is seeing how connected everything is and how things said in the past come true later in the story. Today we have Peter and John getting arrested by the Temple guard because of their teaching that in Jesus there is resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees, a leading group in the Temple, do not believe in the resurrection, therefore, were really upset with the message of Peter and John. Also, the healing of the lame man in the name of Jesus has gotten them a lot of recognition. The two apostles spent the night in jail so that the religious leaders can build their case. The next day, they were brought before the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law. Scripture even listed the names of the high priest family that were present. Some of the same people that were involved with the questioning of Jesus are present for the questioning of Peter and John. This must have been a very intimidating experience, especially for Peter. It was Peter who saw Jesus brought before the high priest, beaten, and then denied knowing Christ three times out of fear for his own life. Now Peter with John will claim the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gave them the courage and the right words to say in the moment. The religious leaders were astonished by what they heard. They understood that Peter and John were ordinary men without proper religious training however they knew they had been disciples of Jesus Christ. The religious leaders were stumped on what to do. Eventually, they had to let them go. Peter’s boldness, the evidence of the healed man standing before them, and the crowd praising God gave the leaders no other choice but to release them. They did it not because they were convicted of the truth about Jesus but because they realized they were losing the ability as to lead the people. It is at this point you see a changing of the guard in religious leadership. The ignorance of the Temple leaders has prohibited them from having the ability to lead God’s people. New leadership now rest with apostles who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to grow God’s church. This passage teaches us that God’s plan will ultimately succeed. He has the ability to use all kinds of people to help spread the name of Jesus Christ and grow his church. God gives you and me the ability to be a part of this. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do great things that will transform the world that we live in.
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