It’s amazing to me how quickly the church grew after the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 that gathered together and prayed. The day of Pentecost, 3000 were baptized and joined the ranks. That’s some huge church growth right there. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to baptize 3000 people. Dear Lord, I’d be tempted to grab the garden hose and pass it around. Then in chapter 3 of Acts, Peter and John went to the temple area, saw the cripple who was asking for money and gave him a hand up so that he walked. That riled the religious leaders and they had them arrested and put them in jail overnight.
The next day, the entire Jewish high counsel came together to question Peter and John. Lets pick up in Acts 4:7-12; They made Peter and John stand before all the people. They asked them over and over, “How did you make this crippled man well? What power did you use? By whose authority did you do this?” Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and you older leaders, are you questioning us today about what we did to help this crippled man? Are you asking us what made him well? 10 We want all of you and all the people of Israel to know that this man was made well by the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You nailed Jesus to a cross, but God raised him from death. This man was crippled, but he is now well. He is able to stand here before you because of the power of Jesus! Jesus is ‘the stone that you builders thought was not important. But this stone has become the cornerstone.’ Jesus is the only one who can save people. His name is the only power in the world that has been given to save anyone. We must be saved through him!”
Ok, lets back the holy truck up here; we’re talking Peter, the one who denied Jesus 3 times to a teenaged waitress, HE said all this to the Jewish high counsel? The same ones who were responsible for killing Jesus? What just transpired here? How did that even happen! I’m thinking it had something to do with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit back in Acts chapter 2 verse 4. What else could be responsible for giving him not just boldness, but wisdom in speaking to the leaders. I mean really, this is an uneducated fisherman and we all know how foul mouthed those fishermen could be. Have you ever watched Wild Tuna? Seriously, can you imagine any of those men standing before any counsel saying anything of value? Verses 13-14 says; The Jewish leaders understood that Peter and John had no special training or education. But they also saw that they were not afraid to speak. So the leaders were amazed. They also realized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. They saw the crippled man standing there beside the apostles. They saw that he was healed, so they could say nothing against the apostles.
They could say nothing. How many times have you seen that happen? They basically gave them a stern warning not to talk about Jesus anymore to anyone. Listen to Peters response in verses 19 & 20 because this cracks me up; “What do you think is right? What would God want? Should we obey you or God? We cannot be quiet. We must tell people about what we have seen and heard.”
There were at that time nearly 5000 believers, from the 120 in the upper room to 5000. Now look at us! Millions of believers around the world who talk about Jesus, who are not ashamed to be labeled ‘Christians’ even if it cost us our lives. The church is still growing and will continue to grow until Jesus returns for us. We have a choice to focus on how bad our society is, our government is, our world is, or we can focus on the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation. Let’s be vocal today. Let’s not be intimidated but bold in showing that there’s a better way.
Father, we love to be your witnesses to others, to show your amazing grace and love, to be filled with your goodness and giving nature. Help us to represent you well to others that they may be drawn to You. It’s in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen