Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’
Acts 4:8-10, 18-20 (NIV)
A matter of weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter and John found themselves in trouble with the religious authorities. The priests, temple guard and the Sadducees took offence at the apostles healing a lame man and proclaiming that Jesus had risen from the dead (remember that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead).
Peter and John didn’t mince their words. They told the religious elite that they were personally responsible for crucifying Jesus. That would have been enough to anger them. Additionally, they told the authorities that the man had been healed in the name of Jesus. In other words, the apostles claimed no power of their own, but credited it all to Jesus.
As the situation unfolds, the religious leaders try to put pressure on the apostles not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. Peter and John tell them:
‘As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’
They couldn’t keep quiet, because they had to speak of the things they had experienced. They had seen Jesus crucified, they had seen him risen and they knew that the power of the Holy Spirit gave them authority not only to preach and teach, but also to heal in Jesus’ name.
The confidence that Peter and John displayed before the religious authorities was borne out of a belief that salvation is to be found only in Jesus. They affirm this in Acts 4:12 –
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Are you reluctant to speak up about what God has and is doing in your life? Be like Peter and John in sharing your faith, speaking of what you have seen and heard. Where do you get your confidence? In your church leaders, your church, your denomination, or in Jesus alone?
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