We see the disciples in this section of scripture being interrogated by the Jewish leaders of their time over the healing of a man born a cripple. Through the power of the name of Jesus he was healed and this was witnessed by a great many people.
Listen to God
Peter and John then used this as an opportunity to speak the words of the gospel to the thousands of people, and this upset the chief priests. The disciples were imprisoned over night and we now see the trial of the disciples as the chief priests and leaders decide what they will do.
The responses of the disciples is important, not just for them but for us too as it gives us guidance of how we are to also act when brought to account for the name of The Lord.
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This one verse today is very interesting and one we should consider carefully today. It goes to the heart of ministry and who is capable of teaching the word of Jesus. Let’s first have a quick look at the verse itself.
Taught by Jesus
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Peter and John had just performed a miraculous healing where they had healed a crippled man through the power of the name of Jesus. The leaders of the Jews were most unhappy about this and the fact that they then preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in the temple to the many thousands who had gathered together.
But in this verse it is the perceptions of the leaders and priests of the Jews that is interesting and it shows us a great deal.
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How many times have you seen repentance depicted in the media or cartoons as some scruffy old guy wearing a sign that says something like, “Repent, the end is near!” Or how many times is repentance shown as some preacher breathing threats of hellfire and damnation if people don’t repent and turn to God.
Repent for good reasons
Funnily enough, although there may be some truth in such depictions, this is not the way The Lord and the early disciples presented the need for repentance. Repentance is one of the foundation teachings of the New Covenant and when it was preached by John the Baptist, Jesus or the disciples, it was presented in a very different light to the images of the popular media today.
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As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Healed by the power of Jesus name
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
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One of the key messages of the gospel in the New Testament is the need for fellowship. We see the purpose and focus of fellowship in these few verses in Acts 2 after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Fellowship is important, but what does it really entail? What is required of it and what happens during the periods of fellowship? Why do Christians come together to have fellowship? Is it just a means for them to “hang out” together, or is it more than that?
Yes it is much more than just hanging out. Fellowship is important on many levels for a Christian and the importance of coming together cannot be understated. Let us have a brief look at what the bible says about this act.
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As Peter concluded his oration on Pentecost Day we see the unfolding of the first massive calling to the people and the revelation of salvation. In these few words we find an example of the Great Commission that Jesus told the disciples they were to carry out.
Promises of God
This day brought the beginnings of the church as the Apostles preached the word and the people recognised their sin. In these words they were offered the hope of escape and salvation from sin. Three thousand people were added to the church that day after Peter had finished his speech and preaching.
So let us look at the process as it took place. Not only were there insights into the process of these people coming to The Lord, there are also insights into the promises of God that come down to us today.
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Peter stood with the disciples on the Day of Pentecost and with a voice powered by the Holy Spirit he spoke and convicted the people of Jerusalem over the death of Jesus. He showed them in no uncertain terms from the scriptures that they all were familiar with, that they had put to death the Christ that they had been waiting for.
Peter preaching to the multitude at Pentecost Day
The prophets had all spoken of the Christ who was to come, and Peter showed the people that they had put Him to death. They had killed and murdered the author of life, the One who promised life and who they were waiting for to be The Lord and Saviour as promised by the prophets and who give them freedom.
They were absolutely horrified at Peter’s words. But in his words Peter also showed that this had to take place. He also told them that Jesus would be resurrected for death could not hold Him. So while he terrified them with words of condemnation for the murder that was carried out, he offered hope for this was meant to be and it was in the death of Jesus that we all receive hope for life both now and in the future.
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Jesus died at Calvary. We all know that. We also know that He was resurrected from the dead three days after He had been put to death because Jesus could not be held by death.
The empty tomb. Jesus could not be held by death
But why? What was the reason why He could not be held by death? And also is there a way that we can likewise find the way so that we too cannot be held by death, just like Jesus?
Well the answer to the last question is…Yes. We can find the way to be freed from the bondage to death that afflicts all of mankind. It’s funny when you consider the billions of dollars going into medical and scientific research to try and find ways to extend people’s lives, and yet the solution has already been given to us for free.
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When John the Baptist was working in his ministry he spoke of Jesus saying that He was the one who would baptise people with the Holy Spirit. John baptised with water, but Jesus came and died so that we could be baptised with the Holy Spirit.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
After the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and spoke to the people. In his oration Peter made reference to the prophecy of Joel when he spoke about the promise of the Holy Spirit. This was and still is one of the greatest gifts that God has given to mankind and the offer of this gift is not diminished down to today.
Perhaps what needs to be understood though, is not what the gift is but why it was given. He did not give us the gift of the Holy Spirit because it seemed like a good idea at the time, he gave it to us for some very specific reasons.
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