Reading through the first few chapters of Acts is so exciting. The apostles were SO BOLD. They believed in and trusted that the Holy Spirit, which was promised to them, would work and act just as it saw fit. But this belief and trust was actually crazy. And that’s why it’s so exciting. Because the apostles’ lives were different. They were far from normal. They were radical and crazy about Jesus Christ.
After being thrown in jail once and told not to continue teaching about Jesus, the apostles continued doing exactly what they were told not to do. They didn’t care about who told them what not to do or what the consequences would be. They just needed people to know the truth. Some time went on; they continued doing wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and were thrown in jail again. This time, an angel of the Lord opened the prison’s gates for them and instructed them to keep on teaching and preaching.
The high priest, the Council and the Senate came together to talk with the apostles, but the officers had no clue where they were. Finally, they were discovered at the temple. Wonder what they were doing? Teaching the people about Jesus. At this point in the book, the story is getting funny. The apostles had absolutely no care in the world, BUT to preach Jesus Christ and His gospel. The reason this is funny to me is because it seems like it was so easy for them to do what I think is so hard to do. Not much has changed from then until now. Yes, I believe that we are in different times. But no, I do not believe that people need to hear the gospel any less. I don’t believe that we should be in our own little bubbles, living our own lives, and hoping that people see Jesus in us. We have to be Jesus. We have to speak Jesus. We have to yell His name from the mountain tops so the millions of people, who don’t know Him in this world, will hear His name.
The story gets better. They were finally brought in front of the high priest and the Council. And this is what happened:
When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
After Peter and the apostles said all of this, of course the only thing the authorities wanted to do was to kill all of them. By God’s grace, Gamaliel, a well-respected man in the Council, advised that they should let the apostles go. He knew that they would be killed and if they were not killed, he knew that this God that they preached must be real. So, they all took his advice and let the apostles go, not easily, but they were released after being beaten.
Here’s what the Word tells us of the apostles attitude and reaction after they were released:
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
The way I see it, which maybe is or isn’t the way it really happened, is the apostles dancing out, hand-in-hand, REJOICING by singing, “can’t touch this…” However it really went, nothing could stop them. They were bold. They were confident. They were obedient.
We have been promised the same things as the apostles were – the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, but sometimes we seem to teach and preach the opposite of who Jesus Christ was and is. We can’t seem to trust that this power working in us will make us bold enough. But frankly, we aren’t being faithful when we think this way. The Holy Spirit has the power to change. And the way I know that is by looking in the mirror. How in the world does my life look completely different? Who gave me this new life? Oh yeah, it’s all because of Jesus Christ and His Spirit who continues to work in me and compel me. It’s all because of Him that I am who I am. I am nothing without Christ. We must never forget what the Spirit has done, and we must always believe what the Spirit can do if we are willing to be a vessel of service. That’s just it. The apostles were servants. Their lives were completely given to whatever Jesus Christ called them to do. That’s the kind of crazy I want to be. I want to do whatever it takes.
Brothers and sisters, may we be bold, confident and obedient today to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ.