by Tony Nester

Testing Believers
Tony Nester
Acts 4:1-22

Last Sunday we saw Peter and John's confidence growing by leaps and bounds when a lame man was healed through their prayers. Today we see them cast into jail. When you live as a Christian you never know what the day will bring, or what God will do.

There are times when God builds up our confidence by blessing us with success in our efforts, or by answering our prayers, or by providing solutions to our problems. Those of us who live by faith in Christ will often look back over the day and say, "Thank you, Lord, for helping me today." As the old gospel song has our sing, "Count your many blessings, see what God has done."

But not every day. There are other days when life does not go so well for us. One day God blesses us with success, the next day God puts us to the test.

Immediately after Peter and John heal a man from his paralysis they are arrested by the Jewish authorities and thrown into jail. It's true that the next day they are released, but the threats made against them remain.

And it isn't long before those threats against them are carried out. Soon, one of them, Stephen, will be stoned to death. Then James killed. Clement, an early Christian writer, reports that Peter himself was martyred in Rome, as was Paul.

In today's Scripture we see the beginning of the opposition that came against the Church. The opposition was directly focused on the name of Jesus. Peter and John claimed that the lame man had been healed through the name of Jesus. They were proclaiming that Jesus, whom the Jewish authorities had wanted crucified, had been raised from the dead. And they insisted that God's saving work comes to us in and through the name of Jesus. "There is salvation is no one else, no other name by which we must be saved."

The Jewish authorities despised the name of Jesus. They had wanted him crucified so as to discredit his name and disperse his followers. That is why ...

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