Reading For Thursday Acts 4:1-37
The commotion of a man leaping and praising God accompanied by a large crowd of people gathering for a sermon from Peter prompted a quick response from the religious leaders. They were annoyed at their teaching concerning Jesus and the resurrection of the dead, so they took them into custody. However, many heard and believed in spite of the swift actions of these religious leaders. They gather the next day to inquire about the incident because it was undeniable that a lame beggar was healed in the presence of many witnesses. These leaders want to know about power, for that is a major concern. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, reminds them of the miraculous scene encountered at the temple and quickly attributes it to Jesus who is alive having been raised from the dead. Peter then makes the exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
These leaders are astonished at how well spoken these uneducated men are, but they recognized that they had been with Jesus. They were speechless as this gathering was attended by the lame beggar who was standing as an undeniable witness to the healing that had taken place. They dismissed these men and conferred among themselves. The best plan they could come up with was to warn these men not to speak in the name of Jesus. Peter testified that had to speak of the things they had seen and heard. They threatened them, but there were no grounds for any real punishment.
When they were released, they went to their friends and celebrated the work of the sovereign Lord acknowledging that this was his predestined plan. In recognition of the threats made against them, they entreated the Lord to help them with a bold witness accompanied by signs and wonders. The place they were praying in was shaken as God answered their prayer and the bold witness continued. The generosity of God was demonstrated by the way his followers loved and served one another gladly sharing in all things together. There was great grace, and the needy were well served. People sold their possessions and gave liberally to one another. As this passage draws to a close, we are introduced to Joseph, also called Barnabas, that sold a field and brought the money to the apostles.
Things To Consider:
- Why is Jesus so polarizing?
- Why is power difficult to steward?
- If your friends were asked, would they recognize that you spend time with Jesus?
- How can suffering and celebration go together?
- How does Scripture inform their circumstances?
- Why should the church serve the needy?
- What are ways that the church can encourage one another?