Peter and John had healed a man in front of the temple. As they spoke to a crowd of people who had gathered, they were confronted by the temple leaders and guards about their teachings. Peter and John were arrested and put in jail overnight.
The leaders could see the man who had been healed. I wonder if they recognized him as the lame man who had sat outside the temple for years. Had they ever given him money? Or had they ignored him as they walked past? They couldn’t deny that this was the same man. And here he was made whole. He was standing and walking around. He was praising God. They couldn’t deny that a miracle had happened. And they were furious.
The next morning, the council of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law met to discuss what to do with Peter and John. The high priest and some of his relatives were involved in the meeting. These were important people. Or so they thought.
I can only imagine the conversations of these high and mighty men the night before as they plotted their strategy to take down these two disciples. They were furious that Peter and John were teaching that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. But did they know that 5,000 people believed the story? Did they know that the news of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection was spreading like wildfire? What were they really afraid of here?
By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?
When confronted about their teachings, Peter and John didn’t hold back. They were commanded to stop preaching about Jesus, the one who had been killed for claiming to be God Almighty. Instead of cowering and backing down, they stood and boldly spoke the truth.
The leaders tried bullying the two men, but they stood their ground. Their faith was strong, and their commitment was unwavering. They were fearless.
The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalms 29:11
I wonder. If I was confronted about speaking the truth of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection to a group of people, what would I do? Would I cower? Would I change my story? Would I cover up the truth? Would I give in and walk away? Would I stand up for my beliefs in the midst of possible persecution? Would I boldly speak the truth? What would I do?
These two men were just ordinary men. They had no special training in the Scriptures. What they did have was an intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They knew this Jesus. They had walked with him. They had talked with him. They had eaten with him. They had served the crowds miraculous food when there was no food. They had seen Jesus at his best and at his worst. They witnessed his arrest. Peter witnessed his trial, trying to blend in with the crowd. There was that time that he wasn’t willing to boldly stand for Jesus. There was a time right before Jesus was nailed to the cross that Peter had denied knowing him. Not once, but three times. All in the matter of a few short hours. But he repented of his ways and became an outspoken teacher of Scriptural truths.
So when he was asked to never speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again, what do you think he said? Of course, he boldly took a stand for truth. His life had been changed. He was a forgiven man. He would not be quiet about his faith and trust in God.
Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? –Peter
Would I be so bold? Would I be willing to risk my life in order to stand for Jesus?
Peter and John didn’t know that they would later pay the price for continuing to share the Gospel. Peter was crucified upside down. John was sent to live in exile on an island, because he preached about God. While he was alone, he wrote one of the most profound books of the Bible. You can’t tell me that even in the midst of persecution, God isn’t present. You can’t tell me that God isn’t with us in our suffering. God is with us even in the most difficult, trying times of life.
What would I be willing to give up in order that others might hear the truth? Would I be willing to risk everything so that others could enjoy eternal life? Would I be willing to stand when falling to peer pressure would be an easier path to follow? Am I willing to stand?