© 2004 by Jerry L. Croasmun
Read -- Acts 4:23-31 and
"Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them."
Peter and John were arrested for preaching in Jesus' name and His resurrection from the dead. In Acts 4:17-18 we read, "But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name. So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus." In Acts 4:19-20 we read that Peter and John answered Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, and the other members of the Sanhedrin by saying, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
Peter and John were faced with a dilemma and in Acts 4:23-30, we read what they did about this situation. After hearing all that had been told to Peter and John, all of the believers prayed to God in one accord. Their prayer was one asking for boldness and power to preach and do the work of Christ. God heard and answered their prayer.
In verses 24 to 28, the followers of Jesus prayed to God by quoting scripture and acknowledged who God was. They said, "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them." They also quoted Psalm 21:2. Praying scripture is very effective and powerful when quoted in context. The disciples did not quote or pray scripture for only the sake of quoting scripture, but rather prayed to acknowledge the power of God to whom they were praying. They acknowledged in verses 27 and 28 that Jesus' death and crucifixion was the pre-determined plan of God. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jewish people of Israel had all played a part in God's ultimate plan.
In Luke 24:46-49 we read, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endured with power from on high."
In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus had told His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe. In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
The disciples had finally realized God was in control and that Jesus' purpose in living was to die. They realized that their purpose was to live out God's commission to boldly tell others about Christ. The disciples knew that no man could prevent them from teaching and preaching about Jesus. However, they also knew they physically could not do it without seeking God and receiving His power and strength to boldly do so.
God is the source of our strength and the disciples knew this having witnessed the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. He is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. In essence, the followers of Jesus knew that God had a plan for Jesus' life even until death and were praying that His will be done also in their lives. May the same power fill our hearts and lives today so that we may be bold witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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