Monday, January 28, 2013
What We Have Seen and Heard
Acts 4:13 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. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 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.”
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.”
Within a very short period of time over 5000 people had declared their faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ. This was driving the religious leaders crazy. Why in the world would so many people in Jerusalem suddenly believe that the man they had crucified -- Jesus -- was the Messiah and that he had been raised from the dead! They went out to find the ring-leaders and they found Peter and John. They tried to question them to discover what they were doing to persuade so many people. What they discovered dumbfounded them. These men, Peter and John were not highly educated men. They couldn't have been persuading people with their fancy sermons! What they didn't understand was the power of the Holy Spirit that was pouring through them. They had been spending intimate time in the presence of Jesus in prayer. All the power of heaven was available to them and that was much more than fancy speech. Now the lame man was able to walk and no one understood that.
The religious men decided that they would try and make Peter and John be quiet. They didn't realize how futile that would be. It wasn't their words that were so convincing -- but rather the simple testimony. People were simply sharing what God was doing and those stories began to take off like wildfire. It was a wildfire that could not be stopped because the message was so simple.
The challenge for us today is to be careful not to be caught up in trying to have fancy and persuasive speech -- but instead to simply tell the story. Go and tell what it is that we have seen and heard! But here may be the glitch. Could it be that we have seen and heard so little that is compelling that we have no story to tell? And if that is the case, then why? Could it be that we are trying too hard on our own and we are not going to the source of the power? The stories of the disciples were not their own, they were the stories of the work of God through the Holy Spirit. The disciples had waited for ten days in prayer in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them. It was after that when things changed. Yes, they could tell the story of the resurrected Christ, but they could also tell the story of their own personal resurrections. If anyone had known Peter before, they certainly understood that something had radically changed him. He was now a man of power. And he certainly understood the source of that change. He continued to have faithful and intimate conversations with the Lord on a daily basis through prayer. He had seen the way that Jesus had gone off onto the mountain to pray and be with the Father. Back in those days Peter had simply fallen asleep. No longer did he fall asleep -- but instead he carved out time to spend in intimate fellowship with the Father every day. The result was that God was using him as his instrument to radically change the world. Peter didn't need to have persuasive speech -- he simply needed to go and tell what he had seen and heard. God did the rest!
Lord, may I know the intimacy of a life of prayer and may I see the works of your hand at work in the world today. I want to go and tell your stories! Amen.