A Bold Witness!
Acts 4 was our passage which we focused on last Sunday and is a follow on from what we saw in Acts 3. You will remember that the previous week’s message was all about how the Apostles Peter and John healed a crippled man in the temple. This led to Peter giving an off- the- cuff sermon which resulted in many more people coming to faith in Jesus. This was wonderful news... except for a certain group of Jewish leaders who belonged to the sect of the Sadducees. Amongst other things they didn’t believe in the possibility of resurrection (which is why they are so sad- you-see- I know, it’s an old joke.....) which was exactly what Peter was preaching about in relation to Jesus.
As a consequence the Sadducees, who were pretty powerful guys, had the apostles thrown into prison only to be hauled up in court the next day. No doubt these religious big wigs thought that such backwards peasants as Peter and John would crawl in, apologise for being alive and recant all. However, they were in for a surprise!
The Bible says “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole”.
Not content with that Peter even goes on to preach the heart and soul of the Gospel message; Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Peter makes no bones about it; everybody desperately needs to be saved from the punishment their sins deserve and there is ONLY ONE way that this can happen by repenting of our sins and throwing the full weight of our confidence, what the Bible calls faith, in Jesus Christ.
Talk about fighting talk-where on earth did Peter get such boldness?? The answer is surely twofold. A little later in the text we read that
“Now when they (the Sadducees) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus”.
Put that together with something which we read above- ‘Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them’. At this point we can understand the answer to the puzzle; the Apostles were men of God who knew Jesus and had been empowered by the Holy Spirit! The good news for us is that none of this is unique to the first followers of Jesus; the unspeakable privilege of knowing Jesus and receiving his Holy Spirit (the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity) is something for all of us to experience!
Praise God that Christianity is not a religion of meaningless rhymes and rituals but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. In simple English being a Christian is walking with Jesus everyday knowing that all of your sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did on the Cross 2,000 years ago and having the power of the Holy Spirit in your life to enable you to do all that God asks. Now that is something to be bold about in telling others, don’t you think?