Sometimes as christians we find ourselves at odds with the world around us. There is a natural dislike of the christian faith but one area of this behavior puzzles me; why do we often see those in authority state their opposition to telling the story of Jesus Christ? If ever a story needed to be told this is one for sure. There was a time that we christians had the world for our stage. Sadly that is not the case in the world today. While preparing a Sunday school lesson I encountered these verses and with the attitude toward the teaching and sharing the word of God in our day, I found them to be instructive. I refer you to Acts 4: 1-12. Peter and John have just healed a lame man in Jesus Christ’s name. (chapter 3) The Sunday school lesson concerned miracles. I read on into Chapter 4 and found that Peter and John were now being called on to explain their behavior. Now I found in these verses a great lesson to be applied to “Christian Self-Defense” Considering some of the ways that the secular side use to lessen the influence of christian values, we are finding the faith constantly on defense. If we are to go outside the walls and to the lost, hurting and those in need of hope, this attacking the message and those who bring it, must be dealt with. It must also be noted, that sadly here lately these attacks are coming from within the faith as well.
The priests and Sadducees are incensed at the apostles’ teaching, and put them in prison. There was the number of those who believed. This type of influence could be threatening to the Sadducees, whose whole system was now in danger by the preaching of the resurrection of Christ; for they believed not in the immortality of the soul, nor in any future world. These made a common cause with the priests, etc., to suppress the evidence of Christ’s resurrection, and silence the apostles. (Adam Clarke Commentary)
They are arrested and held overnight in jail.The next day they are called before the council of all the elders and rulers and asked to explain their actions. They were most concerned by what authority did these men teach and by what power and in whose name did they do this? They are confused by Peter’s answer and it serves only to harden their hearts. Still an even bigger problem for them was that so many saw the healing as it happened, the man was known well to those people and was frequently at that gate begging. They had standing among the people an irrefutable proof that a miracle had occurred for which they had no answer. All they could do was to command them not to preach in the name of Jesus.
Here we see very vividly both the enemy’s attack and the Christian defense. In the enemy’s attack, there are two characteristics.
First, there is contempt.
They consider Peter and John ignorant and uneducated in the application of the Law and having no real ability to understand its meanings and as such, they have no ability….. to deal with such matters. While not all people of learning are given to such behavior it is a common tactic among some to resort to academic and professional snobbery. They fail to see that this is not a matter of academic or professional standing but rather a matter of the heart. Peter and John have the love of Christ in their hearts, a strength that does not require academic attainment or professional status.
Second, there are threats
We as Christians know that such things are of this world, they will not survive, but the things of God last forever.
Just as Peter and John had certain defenses, today we of the Christian faith do also. They had the defense of an unanswerable fact. That the man had been cured, it was impossible to deny. The most unanswerable defense of Christianity is the individual Christian. Make no mistake that the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Christian commitment to live a Holy Life in service to Him and all people is also an unanswerable fact to the power of our faith. They had the defense of an utter loyalty to God. If it was a question of choosing between obeying other people and obeying God, Peter and John were in no doubt as to what course to take. Would Our faith today sustain such a decision? Lastly they had the defense of a personal experience of Jesus Christ. Their message was not something that they had simply heard from others. These men had been with him and had heard his voice, seen the miracles and knew the resurrection to be true. Consider this…we sometimes overlook the fact that through the Holy Spirit we too have had a personal experience with Christ. We know with unshakable fact, that salvation through Jesus Christ is real and we are willing to stake our lives on it.
Words are not enough. Peter and John refused to be silenced as they continued to take the word to the people. God’s word is a map to where we need to go. Take the GOOD Way…..we are not there yet.
Life is Good