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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

Last week, we looked at "Satan's intrusion in the Camp"; Ananias and Saphira's failed attempt to lie to the Holy Spirit and the consequences. We also discovered that the Sanhedrin, (the ruling power over the Jewish nation) were making the rules as they went along. There was originally no laid down rule about the preaching of the name of Jesus. We also discovered their motives: they were jealous of the apostles' popularity and their power. Notice there is no mention of there being religious reasons for their upset and anger. They weren't upset because they felt like the One True God was being profaned or because they felt like the apostles were heretics. They were simply jealous!

This week's study is not as eventful as the previous weeks (the spotlight only rested on the apostles on three occasions) we shall look at them closely. First a few pointers that from today's verses.

 Verse 27 - 28

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." [NIV]

Another reason they were making laws about preaching in Jesus' name was guilt. In Matt 27:25, the high priest himself, along with other Jewish leaders and Jewish people, had said "His blood be on us and on our children." The blood of Jesus was on their heads. They just didn't like the way the apostles were rubbing it in at every opportunity. (Acts 2:23, 3:17-18, 4:10-11)

Bold Response in the face of challenge

In verses 27-28, the Jewish leaders, ignoring the truth and the miracles tried to intimidate the apostles but their response in the face of challenge was resolute.

Verse 29

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men."

Verses 30 - 32

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

You did not need to be told. It was "your man" Peter preaching!

He did not miss the opportunity, he was consistent, he was not diplomatic or apologetic (whom ye slew and hanged on a tree) - rubbing it in! He preached Jesus, (Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins) and introduced the Holy Ghost (and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him).

 Verses 33 - 39

"When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God's Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, then said, "Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds. "So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it?and you better not be found fighting against God!" [MSG]

Their guilt overwhelmed them and the same indignation that led them to killing Jesus took them over again and they wanted to kill the apostles but for Gamaliel's intervention.

Learning points

When Conviction meets with Pride, it amounts to Guilt [Verse 33]

When Conviction meets with Humility, it leads to Repentance [Acts 2:37]

Verse 40 -41

"And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

They didn't fight back or protest; instead they took suffering in Jesus' name with dignity. Matt 5: 10-12, 1 Peter 4:13

 Verse 42

"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

They were consistently relentless; they did not allow the threats of the Jewish leaders deter them from doing what they were called to do. Notice that the Jewish leaders did not prevent them from meeting at the temple.

Conclusion

Once again, we are faced with some truths and lessons to learn; we see the apostles' response in the face of challenge. They chose to obey God; they didn't fight back or protest; instead they took suffering in Jesus' name with dignity and they were consistently relentless. And once again Peter's message - consistent!

 

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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