2014-08-21 - Be the Unexpected
Originally Published 1998-03-21
Acts 4:13-14 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.
In Acts chapter three, Peter and John had just been used by God to heal the man who sat at the Beautiful Gate. He had been known in the community, his family too. It was common knowledge that he had been lame from birth. There had been no first steps or races with his boyhood friends. We never even get his name, but his joy is evident as he stood for the first time. He followed his new friends as he walked into the Temple leaping and praising God (v. 8).
The Portico of Solomon became a torrent of rushing bodies people coming to see what their minds struggled to comprehend. John and Peter had used the opportunity to witness to the thronging crowds that it was not anything that they had done, but the power of Jesus unleashed and faith in His name that had healed the man standing before them (v. 16-17). The two men spoke of how Jesus' life and sufferings were foretold. The disciples instructed the people to repent so that their sins could be cleansed and times of refreshing could follow from the Lord (v. 18-19). They claimed Jesus as Messiah (v. 20). Five thousand men would heed the call and accept Jesus as Savior.
Acts 4: Enter the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, with the Captian of the temple guard. The two disciples spend the evening in jail since it was late and the council could not convene after dark unlike they did for Jesus' trial. John and Peter rose to speak in their own defense to this august body of doctors of the law and scholars. They spoke boldly and clearly that Jesus had healed the man who stood before them as proof. The council could not refute the miracle the evidence against anything else was staggering. But, the disciples spoke in the name of Jesus. To speak in any other name than Jehovah was cause for stoning. Indeed, it is not impossible to imagine these men questioning John and Peter with stones in their hands. The boldness of Peter and John is even more impressive in light of that thought.
The council could not refute the miracle. And, if John and Peter were condemned and stoned, the people would certainly riot. The boldness and confidence of the two former fishermen stunned the men who heard their testimony. They were uneducated and untrained men, yet the two were irrefutable. They were not the men that they, or you or I for that matter, would have chosen to rock the establishment; but God did. The council also recognize them as having been with Jesus. No higher honor or compliment could have been given. I wonder if any of those men gather at the trial were able to put all the pieces together and believe. It may not have been that day, but that evening, or during the week or years later when they could no longer hold out against the tide of truth and believed setting aside their rank and pride.
1 Cor 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God.
One of the hardest things in the Christian life for we "instant gratification seeking Americans" is this point. We are often allowed to sew seeds we will never see come to fruition. So, like Johnny Appleseed, we must learn to plant and march onward.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.