Awe and Wonder – Part Fifteen

Awe and Wonder – Part Fifteen

The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.
Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family.
They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people!
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.’

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised 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.’
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.
(Acts 4 v. 5 – 22)

After a night in custody, Peter and John stand before the Jewish ruling council.
The council are astounded by the ‘courage’ of the two apostles – another sort of ‘awe and wonder’ – the audacity of those ‘unschooled, ordinary’ men before the highest ranking officials in Jewish faith.
Luke, though, simply slips in the words, ‘Peter, filled with the Spirit, said’, reminding us that the key to this courage, this audacity, and the impact of the words spoken is the out-poured Spirit of Jesus, filling them, and the powerful name of the risen Lord Jesus enabling them.
In his third occasion (recorded) of speaking publicly since the Spirit filled them, Peter is developing some sharp statements:
– Jesus is the cornerstone, the stone the builders rejected : quoting from Psalm 118
– Jesus is the name by which we may be saved – the only means for salvation

A direct and powerful challenge to the Jewish leaders, in the mighty Jerusalem temple.
They decide to order them to speak no more for, or in, the name of Jesus.
Peter has two responses to this unreasonable and unrealistic request:
– we can’t stop ourselves speaking of what we know and have experienced
– should we listen to and obey people, or God Himself?
At this stage, they are simply threatened and not punished – too many people have witnessed the miraculous healing of the lame man at the Beautiful gate….but there’s much more to come!

No other name, but the name of Jesus
is worthy of honour
worthy of glory
worthy of power and all praise

Phil Gough