From Unfolding Grace:
“The book of Acts is Luke’s historical account of how the risen Christ spreads the gospel to all nations through His Spirit-empowered people. Jesus sends His disciples to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This order is not arbitrary — Isaiah promised that God would first restore Israel, then the nations, to Himself.
Acts shows us men and women finding deep joy in Christ, true community in the church, and fruitful mission in the world. When we trust in Christ, we become participants in God’s sorry of unfolding grace. We are empowered to share the good news that Jesus is King and that all are welcome by grace through faith.”
Wednesday, September 1st
Larger Portion of Scripture - Acts 1-4
Focused Passage for Reflection - Acts 4:1-22
Reflecting on the Text:
Do you remember the early character sketches of the disciples? They seemed clumsy, self-absorbed, impetuous. They jockeyed for positions of power and then fled when the going got tough. In other words, they were a lot like us. But that was before. Now, in Acts 4, something is profoundly different.
Peter and John have been arrested. They healed a lame bigger and then powerfully proclaimed Jesus to the crowd in the temple. The people were responding to this message of salvation, but the religious leaders were “greatly annoyed.” So in an attempt to silence Peter and John, they had them arrested.
Talk about a change of heart! At their trial, Peter proclaimed Christ with power!
“…Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raider from the dead — by Him this man is standing before you well.” (v. 10 with emphasis added) In other words: You crucified Him. God raised Him. He is the instrument of healing. There is salvation in no one else!
But you and I aren’t the only ones to recognize this transformation in Peter. The crowd recognized their boldness too. More importantly, they recognized what was behind it. Peter and John were uneducated and common. There was no earthly explanation for the power of their speech. It wasn’t that. No. It was the fact that they had been with Jesus!
But their boldness wasn’t the only thing new about them. They also had new clarity. In v. 20 they responded to the call to silence by saying “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Wow! Salvation, boldness, clarity. Does it stir your heart? Do you want some of whatever they are having? I do!
Though it’s not easy, it is simple. Though it is challenged at every turn, it is available to all. So we must fight to not overcomplicate it, and we must fight to not let it get water down by lesser desires and priorities. Like Peter and John, let us be with Jesus. (v. 13) Let us be led by His Spirit. (v. 8)
Questions for personal reflection:
What does it look like for you to be with Jesus? How can you fight to keep from overcomplicating it? How can you fight to keep it from getting watered down by lesser desires and priorities?
What does it mean for you to be led by His Spirit? How can you fight to keep from overcomplicating it? How can you fight to keep it from getting watered down by lesser desires and priorities?