Acts 3; 4:1-33; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 57-71
At church we learn of God’s power in our lives.
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).
Sven and Karina lived in Sweden many years ago. While still children, they learned that Jesus is coming soon. Their mother and father began to share this good news with others. But it was against the law in Sweden for grown-ups to preach that Jesus is coming soon. So they were put in prison for breaking that law. The people who believed that Jesus is coming soon prayed for courage. God’s Holy Spirit filled Sven and Karina. Even though they were children, they preached God’s message boldly. The Holy Spirit gave them courage to do so. But they were not the first. Our Bible story today is about some early church members who prayed together for courage to preach Jesus’ message.
Peter and John squinted their eyes against the bright sunlight. Deep breaths of fresh air felt good as they were led from the prison. They looked at each other and smiled. It was good to be outdoors again, even for a short time.
A special meeting of the most important men in the country would take place that day. And Peter and John had been ordered to be there. Who knew what would happen? But they were not afraid. They knew that God would be with them.
Everyone hushed as Peter and John entered the room. Robes rustled. Men shifted to get a better view. Then one of the leaders cleared his throat and began. “How did you do this? What power do you have, or whose name did you use?”
The leader was talking about the miracle that Peter and John had done in Jesus’ name the day before. A well-known lame man had been healed. And everybody was talking about it. Many people who heard about the miracle also heard Peter and John’s message. They now believed in Jesus. Because of this, the Jewish leaders were not happy!
Peter quietly looked around at the rulers. He was a different man from the Peter who had denied knowing Jesus just a few days ago. Now he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He began to speak. “We are being called to account today for an act of kindness to a man who could not walk. You ask us how this happened. Know this: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that he was healed. Yes, Jesus, the one whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.”
Peter continued boldly on. “Salvation is found in no one else. For there is no other name by which we must be saved.” (See Acts 4:8-12.)
The rulers looked amazed. Why, the man spoke without fear! He spoke clearly and boldly! Those leaders soon decided that Peter and John had been changed because they had been with Jesus.
What should they do? They couldn’t say that the miracle hadn’t happened. The man who had been lame was standing right there! And he certainly wasn’t lame anymore! There was a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. He knew he had been healed! The rulers finally decided to order Peter and John not to talk about it. But Peter and John stood firm and said, “Is it right to obey you rather than God?”
Once again Peter and John were warned, even more strongly. Then they were set free. The rulers were afraid to punish them. Too many people in the city were praising God for what had happened.
Peter and John returned to the place where the believers were gathered. They all joined together in prayer, asking for power to speak out boldly, and for more miracles through the name of Jesus. And God heard and answered their prayers. At once the meeting place shook like an earthquake. But it wasn’t an earthquake. It was the Holy Spirit filling everyone there. And after that, they all began to preach God’s message with great courage.