The Apostle Paul stopped by to tell us about his life, and how he went from being someone who scoffed at and persecuted followers of the Way, to becoming Jesus’s emissary to the Gentiles. His testimony assures us that the resurrection is real, because a resurrected Christ appeared to him!
When Peter and the apostles appeared before the Sanhedrin (the council of Jewish leaders), they professed that they would continue to preach Jesus. While there was some seemingly wise counsel from one of their more learned members, a closer analysis shows that it was bad advice. The world’s wisdom often looks at God’s wisdom as foolishness, but Peter and the apostles stayed true to God’s wisdom; we should as well.
The apostles were arrested; but, before the Sanhedrin could covene a trial, God released them from prison and told them to go back where they had been and resume preaching. When the church authorities found them, they threatened them, and told them to stop preaching. Peter, speaking for the group, powerfully expressed that they were living in ultimate allegiance to God, not man.
Today’s passage is one of the more difficult passages in the book of Acts. However, it is not a story of a God overreacting to a little sin; rather, it expresses the seriousness with which God views hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the tool of the enemy, challenges our integrity, and can attack our very commitment to God.
After Peter and John got in trouble with the authorities, they were charged to stop preaching about Jesus. When they met back up with the other believers, though, they did not gather everyone up to tell them about their new clandestine gospel program; rather, they prayed that they would be even more bold in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ! They remembered what God had already done, and relied on His power to continue their ministry; 2,000 years later, we should do nothing less ourselves.
Peter and John continued preaching about Jesus, and people were listening - including the church leaders, who had Peter and John arrested. Their experience shows us that, when we are serving God, we will encounter opposition. However, that should not dissuade us, because we will also see God transform lives through His grace.
Fresh off Peter and John’s healing of the man who had been lame since birth, they had the people’s attention. Peter preached to them not of their own power, but of God and His plan to provide healing for all of mankind. This provision from God was a plan laid out across the ages, involving the Prophet of the Lord Who would make the supreme sacrifice.
Some time after Pentecost, Peter and John were going into the temple for mid-afternoon prayer. They had probably walked past the same beggar many times, but on this day, they truly saw him. They had no money, but they knew that what he really needed was to be introduced to Jesus. In the same way, we should strive to truly see those around us, and share Jesus with them.
After Peter’s powerful sermon, the Spirit of God changed the hearts of those came to Him. However, their change was not just an inward change; this affected their outward lives as well. They saw awesome power displayed, they showed compassion for their fellow man, they worshiped the Lord, and they experienced joyful growth.
Peter came a long way from the disciple who denied Jesus 3 times before He was crucified. On Pentecost, Peter stood up firm in his belief in the One Who had restored him. God’s work through Peter serve as an example to us on how God empowers His people as they stand boldly and proclaim His Word; He gives us the courage to stand, an understanding of His purposes, words that can penetrate hearts, and the only source of spiritual regeneration and growth.