by Terry J. Hallock

A Bold People for a Tough Time
Terry J. Hallock
Acts 4:8-22, 29-31
Palm Sunday, March 23, 2000

As the Scripture for this morning unfolds Peter and John have just healed a man crippled from birth. As a result they've been hauled before the Jewish ruling council to be officially punished for their audacity to take Jesus so seriously they actually believe He can change the worst circumstances of the most broken people.

We pick up the store in Acts 4:8. "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 cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and everyone else in 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 completely healed. He is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.' When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."

The stubborn boldness of Peter and John puts the religious rulers in a quandary. "But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 'What are we going to do with these men?' they asked. 'Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.' Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus."

Did Peter and John go quietly into the night, counting their blessings for having not been ...

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