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Unashamed Power

Acts 5:29-33
Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead – whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.' When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. (NIVUK)

Peter's boldness did not come from arrogance or assertiveness, but from a confident assurance that Jesus Christ is Lord. The religious court accused the apostles of disobeying their ruling 'not to speak about Jesus'. But their reply was the same as the last time they were arrested (Acts 4:19-20):"We must obey God rather than human beings!"

Peter was unashamed about the resurrection of Jesus and His ongoing power. The court had sentenced Him to be crucified but God had raised Jesus from the dead, so that meant that God was on the opposite side to the religious leaders. That was a very serious charge as Peter went on to explain that Jesus is God's Prince of Peace and Saviour. He was sent to bring all of His people to repentance (including their leaders) so that God could forgive their sins. It was a gospel message directed at the court.

The apostles were eye witnesses (2 Peter 1:16); they had met the risen Jesus (John 21:15-19). They had been filled with the Holy Spirit who urged them to tell what they had seen (Luke 24:48-49). Their teaching in the temple was not belligerent defiance of the court but simple obedience to the Lord. But when they had spoken, some of the Council demanded the death penalty for the apostles, just as they had for Jesus (Mark 14:63-64). They were so angry that Jesus was more important than them.

Sin's chief characteristic is to make 'self' more important than God. People become their own gods and deny Jesus' right to be King (Luke 19:14). So they will ignore Him, slander Him and want to dispose of Him and His people. And yet the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin as God's people speak the truth about Jesus (Acts 2:37). What will they do with the knowledge that they are wrong before God? Either repent or resist. That is true of all your friends and colleagues. God is good in urging them to repent but that is the choice they have to make (Romans 2:4). In the meantime, they may well take their anger out on you. But be encouraged, the Holy Spirit is at work through your words and witness; and some will repent and be saved.

Saving God. Thank You for loving sinners and for providing salvation through Christ's death. Forgive me for being intimidated by somebody who is starting to be convicted of their sin. Please give me the courage to speak the truth about Jesus, so that my friends and colleagues understand that I am following Jesus Christ as my Lord. Please convict them if they are opposed to Jesus, and give them the grace of repentance. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams