Wednesday 1-28-15 (Home)
Scripture reading: Exod 21-22 Ps 12 Acts 4
S. Acts 4:29-31 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching. Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached God's message with boldness. NLT
O. Peter and John had just healed a crippled man who had not never in his life. The guy was now leaping and walking and praising God. So crowds gathered around and Peter and John started preaching about the One behind the miracle… Jesus, the resurrected Christ.
This jarred the religious leaders who only three months before had condemned, shamed, mocked, beaten and crucified Jesus. They had thought that His few followers would never be ‘in their face’ again. They had wiped Jesus out, totally destroyed this fake Messiah… silenced His voice forever.
But what is going on in the temple now? Thousands are pushing each other aside to see a 40 year old cripple jumping around. And 5,000 men, plus women and children are praising God, convinced that this dead Jesus is really alive, the risen Son of God!
“Let’s throw them in prison. We’ve got to shut down this ‘halleluyah meeting’ right now!” So into the middle of the crowd dash the temple guards, the same guys that had arrested Jesus a few months before. They push aside men, women and little children and come upon an old familiar crippled beggar jumping around like a jack rabbit. I wonder what they are thinking as they grab Peter and John and haul them off to prison.
Now the Jewish religious leaders are huddled in their court room. “What are we going to do with these followers of Jesus? Everybody in Jerusalem knows by now that this beggar is healed!” So they order the two Galilean fishermen, Peter and John to be brought out of their cell and to stand before them. “Okay, boys, which one of you is responsible for healing this cripple?” Peter has the fastest tongue. “It wasn’t us, your honor, it was the living, resurrected Jesus, the true Messiah that you guys had crucified, killed and buried. He rose from the dead! And get this straight, all of you here in this court room, you can stomp the name of Jesus into the cracks in these stones forever, but if you want to be saved… there is no other name under heaven that can save you!”
Shock! Nobody slept during that sermon. There is silence in the court room. The high priest looks over at his chief assistant. Everyone is stunned. These uneducated country hicks are speaking with the same dynamic authority that Jesus did. They whisper among themselves and arrive at a verdict. “Okay, we’ll be nice to you boys this time. We’ll just issue you a warning. But don’t you ever again dare to preach in the name of this Jesus! Never! Got it?” “Yes, we got your verdict, but do you think we should listen to you or to God?” They roll their eyes and let them go. A crowd of new-born followers of Jesus is waiting for Peter and John. They report the verdict… and say, “So, let’s pray.” Now you gotta go back and read their prayer again (above).
A. How long has it been since I prayed that prayer with that same fervor? How long has it been since we even gathered a group together to pray? How long has it been since our church building shook under the power of the Holy Spirit? How long since we had a prayer meeting that made us rise and run out to preach Jesus with boldness? Let’s get back to the prayer meeting! Maybe if we can get ourselves into trouble like Peter and John did, we’ll go back and pray.
P. Yes, Lord, I know You are talking to me, not just “them”. My heart cries out for a renewal of Holy Spirit empowered Pentecost in me and in our Assemblies of God churches. It seems that we have forgotten how to pray together. Most of our children and youth have never experienced a powerful prayer meeting. Where are we headed, Lord? Turn us back to seeking You and Your miracle power. Then send us out to preach Your message with boldness.” Amen.