Sunday, July 23, 2006

Monday morning message

Acts chapter 4

5The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of 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 healed. 11He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.[a]'[b] 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

13When 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. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16"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. 17But 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."

18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

I looked at this passage from two points of view, the first was as a man discipled in a pentecostal tradition:

Peter and John had just accomplished an amazing miracle, Peter utters a great one liner "silver and gold we have not, but what we do have we give to you: In the name of Jesus, rise and walk" And amidst the commotion a crowd gathers, and Peter begins to preach about Jesus. Then the Jewish leaders and priests have them arrested. They are the ones that at the very least assisted in the death of Jesus. These leaders take Peter and John aside and ask what they are doing.

Now Peter, being his usual cautious self, basically tells them that they had Jesus killed, and that it was in Jesus name this happened. The leaders threaten them, and tell them to stop, then threaten them some more.

A bit later in the chapter we read the church praying for boldness to continue to share the message of Jesus. And this is what I was taught over and over again. To pray for boldness like the apostles did. The thing is, this seems really silly to me. What do I have to be bold about? Or what do I have to be bold in the face of. These men's very lives were in danger, their bodies would be beaten, they would be banished, excommunicated, and eventually killed. In the face of this they asked God for boldness. What do I have to worry about? Someone might not like me. Someone might think I am a weirdo!!! Hardly the same thing huh?

But the second point of view:

These educated leaders were amazed that these uneducated labourers were bold enough to stand against them. How could these low lifes imagine themselves to be worthy of even speaking to them!!! Yet somehow they not only stood in confidence before them, but actually contradicted them right to their face. Didn't they know who they were talking to!

And from this, they realized they had been Jesus' companions.

Perhaps we need to pray for a more complete relationship with Jesus, rather than for boldness. Perhaps we should concentrate more on spending time with the risen Jesus, than on working ourselves up to the proper lather to share our faith. Maybe its from this knowledge of Jesus, and His love, and His victory, and His grace, that we just naturally go about being Jesus to others, caring for the broken hearted, praying for the sick, sharing the good news of the kingdom of God. Maybe, once again our focus should be on Jesus, not on ourselves. I think then we wind up naturally being the light in darkness that we are told about.

the rev


David said...

Focus on Jesus? What about the other two thirds of the trinity? Aren't they as important?

The Rev said...

Jesus is the physical representation of the fullness of the Godhead, and the exact representation of God. Therefore focussing on Jesus is focussing on the fullness of God. Trinitarian theology is probably not your strong suit, so maybe you should continue to make trite comments about inappropriate language.

Or better yet perhaps try to have constructive posts rather than annoying ones.

the rev

David said...

Is this you trying to be more like Jesus?

By the way, are you still full of shit?

The Rev said...

My lower intestines are slowly and naturally getting cleared of excess fecal matter, thanks for asking.

And yes I believe Jesus didn't mince words, so neither shall I. I would love to have honest open chats about a variety of topics with you, but if you do not care for that, and would only like to continue to mock, criticize and annoy, perhaps it would be better if you piss off.

the rev

David said...

Ok, bye then.

The Rev said...

interesting, he feels like not criticizing, mocking and annoying are the only thing worth doing on the site.

Well if you ever want to come back and actually engage you will be welcome.

the rev

urbanmonk said...

Dave must be lonely or have a deep lack of contentment in his life, coz while you were OS, he came around attacking my posts..

Good message Rev. Theres a lot of guilt out there, from this, another religious burden the Church has laid on the shoulders of sincere people. (that being the pressure to "wittness" and Share your faith) To cultivate intimacvy with Jesus will inevitabley lead to light shining in dark places. Might even be your own life.

I like your point about the disciples being "ordinary blokes" standing up to religious authority.
When you do that these days, you dont get aligned with Jesus, you get accused of being against him..

Rebecca said...

Good post Rev.

Urbanmonk, that's so true re: religious authority.

Lynne said...

I love your take on this, that instead of another burden people are expected to carry in their own strength and somehow make happen, it turns it back into ever deepening relationship with Jesus, the only thing that CAN transform us anyway. This world is waiting for the Father's children to be revealed, not for another nervous harangue! Thanks again, I hadn't looked at this particular passage this way before