I am inspired to read the accounts of the early church in Acts 3 and 4. Peter and John give an account of what happened at the temple in Jerusalem, one day:
Peter and John go to the temple at three in the afternoon, and come upon a lame beggar, who is asking for money at the temple gates.
With the power of God in him, Peter heals the lame man. It is interesting to note that this is what he tells the beggar:
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
This is followed by Peter’s action:
7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
This is followed by the lame man’s action:
8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
The people who witnessed this event also reacted to it.
10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
From that point, a lot of things happen. Peter is able to explain that it wasn’t his power that healed the lame man, but that it was by the power of Christ, who they put to death, but Who God raised from the dead.
The temple leaders, the Sadducees, had Peter and John thrown in jail, but many men believed what the two had spoken, and they were counted with the five thousand Christians who believed in Jesus.
Here is the amazing response Peter gives to the leaders and rulers of Jerusalem, when he is given the opportunity to speak:
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,10 then 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. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
This story is helpful to us as Christians, today!
The leaders realize that Peter and John are unschooled, ordinary men.
13 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 man who was healed is standing before them, and the rulers are undecided of what to do with Peter and John.
They decide to release them with the warning not to speak to anyone about Jesus:
17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Peter and John truthfully tell the leaders that they cannot do that:
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After 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. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
I really love the response from Peter, that we need to do what is right in God’s eyes, and listen to Him. I also love how he states that they cannot help speaking about what they have seen and heard.
Dear God, help us to put these words in our hearts. Help us to be so close to You, that we cannot help speaking of what we have seen, read, and heard. I pray that we would have Your power in us to make a difference in this world, and that we would obey You, and listen to You, and do what is right. Keep us from temptation, deliver us from evil, and help us to be good ambassadors, proclaiming Your glory! In the name of Jesus, Amen.