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Rejected but Supremely Powerful

Acts 4:8-11
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone' " (NIVUK)

Peter was being interrogated about the healing of a lame beggar (Acts 4:5-7). The top religious leaders feared that a renewed interest in Jesus, whom they had crucified, threatened their position of power (John 11:48). So they ordered Peter to admit who gave him (and John) the authority to heal. But they were not in control of the cross questioning: God was giving them yet another opportunity to understand and agree that Jesus is Lord. And so Peter explained that the once-crucified Jesus is alive and still has power to change people's lives.

Peter's words were straight from God. The Holy Spirit inspired him to express the truth about Jesus starkly, so that nobody could misunderstand. The apostles were kind – an expression of God's love in them through the Holy Spirit. When the apostles challenged the beggar to walk, in the Name of Jesus, he believed that Jesus had power to change his life. He cooperated with Jesus. The healing was all God's work. Having been lame from birth he got to his feet and jumped around. And while the apostles were being questioned, he stood in the court as a witness.

However, the Holy Spirit urged Peter to include a direct challenge to the religious judges. They were the same people who had condemned Jesus Christ to death (Luke 22:66-71); and Peter said so. Although they had tried to avoid the truth, God had raised Jesus from the dead and He had been seen alive by so many people (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). That meant that those who rejected Jesus had failed in their attempt to stop Him. Instead, Father God has made Him the most important person in the cosmos, and the cornerstone of the true church. It was a bold courtroom address energised by the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised (Luke 12:11-12): it was the judges opportunity to repent.

There are times when it seems that you are on your own as a believer in Jesus. But that is not true. The Lord is with you; indeed the Holy Spirit is in you and will speak through you if you will let Him (1 Corinthians 2:13). Sometimes the circumstances are so demanding that you have to either deny Jesus or proclaim Him: proclaim Him … that is the reason for which you have been given the opportunity to speak … because He wants people who hate Him to know how much He loves them. Jesus is often rejected but that does not alter the fact that He is the King of kings and the cornerstone of the church for all eternity. Those who are ashamed of Jesus do not realise that Jesus will be ashamed of them on the Final Day (Luke 9:26).

Father God. Thank You for loving people who hate Jesus, and using Your people to tell them. Forgive me for being ashamed of Jesus and dodging those opportunities You set up for me to tell the truth about Jesus. Please help me to seize each opportunity, knowing that I am not alone, but You are with me and in me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams