Bible Reference: Acts 4:8-12
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 8 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, “Respected elders and leaders of the people, listen. 9 Are we being put on trial today for doing an act of kindness by healing a frail, crippled man? Well then, 10 you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[f] but God raised him from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’[g] 12 There is no one else[h] who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation:[i] the name of Jesus.”
OBSERVATION: You will see from this Scripture that there was trouble between church and state right from the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, I believe you will also see how important it is to represent Jesus well, even when questioned by unsuspecting authorities. As we meditate on this today, hopefully we will learn how to best represent Christ in all circumstances of life.
APPLICATION: I would imagine that most of my readers will fall into the same ‘boat’ as myself, in that we may never have been under close scrutiny by governing authorities in practicing our faith. Because of this, it may be challenging for us to identify with all that Peter and his companions dealt with. However there are some important points in this story that, I believe, will help us in our Christian journey:
(1) Stand firm in your faith in the good times and in the challenging times. Think about it. The easiest way to get along with people, is to agree with their opinions, beliefs and ideals. But what does this convey about your own personal opinions, beliefs and ideals? Don’t you think that in the case of the latter, folk will soon look at you in pity knowing that you have no firm convictions about anything in life? Yes, you will probably be less argumentative that most people, because you will never challenge anyone about their convictions. Peter stood firm in his convictions even when faced with the authorities who had every right to sentence him to death;
(2) Speak as a representative of Christ. I believe it is easy to see that Peter showed no anger in his voice, and that he respected the authorities that he was addressing. When our motives and integrity is questioned, we will often raise our voices and say things that are disrespectful. There are certain pieces of evidence that we portray when someone is really getting us upset. It may be the wrinkled forehead, or the tremor in your lips, or the twitch in your eyes, but often something will let the other party know that they are truly getting ‘under our skin’! Peter had every reason to try every trick in the book to get his point across properly and respectfully, as the authorities could easily have ordered his death. Our conflicts may never be quite as life threatening, but yet we tend to go overboard in trying to convince those who question us. I’ve seen great exaggeration by individuals, as well as awful anger built up in folk when questioned. Peter’s response actually led to sharing prophecy, and the plan of salvation with those who questioned him. Wow, wouldn’t that be a great goal to try and achieve before a conversation is finished with someone who questions us?
(3) Nothing to hide. Peter held nothing back, nor did he use terms to disguise what he felt God wanted him to say to the leaders. Unfortunately, it seems like we try very hard to avoid hurting the feelings of our friends and family, so we talk in riddles in order to avoid actually speaking openly about our Lord. Oh my, what a shame dear friend. In spite of all the power of our Lord, Jesus still went to a criminal’s cross, walking thru the shame and jeering of an angry crowd, and He hung there – exposed to additional shame and disrespect – but precious friend, He did all that in love, so that we might live forever with He and the Father in heaven! So what is it again that you feel ashamed to talk about in public? Who is it that intimidates you when you know you should be sharing your faith with them?
May I encourage you to be very open in sharing who healed you; who touched your life; who brightens your day; who is your hope for all eternity; etc, etc. Jesus wasn’t ashamed of anyone that He made, nor anyone He saved. Why should you or I be ashamed of Him?
PRAYER: Thank You precious Lord for creating us in Your image. Thank You for giving up Your very life so that we may see the likes of heaven and our heavenly Father. As You touch our lives each day, may we be especially bold about declaring the Word of God, honoring the One who saved us, and bragging on the One who healed us and made us anew in Jesus Christ. To You be all glory, honor and praise! Oh that our lives will reflect Your glory in every aspect of our lives. AMEN!