Stand Up For God
(by Gillian Johnson)
Read Acts 3:11-4:4
Peter and John knew that the credit for the miracle performed in 3:1-10 (which was looked at last week) did not belong to them, but to Jesus. They also knew that the crowd who gathered should not admire or praise them.
So, for the second time in his Christian life, Peter preaches to the crowd. Perhaps Peter is recalling the words spoken by Jesus (in Mark 1:38 where Jesus says He has come to tell of the good news of the kingdom of God to the people).
Peter doesn’t wait for an invitation to speak, or to be asked about the miracle, he gets straight on in and speaks. He knows he must tell about Jesus. He knows he has God given power (Holy Spirit) to tell about Jesus.
So, doing what Jesus would do, he speaks to the gathered crowd, with confidence, clarity and directness.
He reminds them of their history, how the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Jesus. (V13, 18, 22, 24 and 25)
He is not afraid to offend them, and he explains to them that they should repent. (V19)
The Jews thought the Christians were worshipping a new God, but Peter explained that Jesus was the Son of God – the same God whom they and their fathers had also known – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus, the fulfilment of the prophecies made long ago.
It was through faith in Jesus, God’s Son, that he and John had healed the crippled man.
The people were guilty of rejecting Jesus. They had denied Him, they had killed Him. But the God they said was their God, and the God of their fathers did not agree. His verdict on Jesus was different, in fact the opposite, for He glorifies His Servant whom He had raised from the dead.
Jesus is the author of life, never to die again. Peter and John had been eyewitnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The great news was that they could receive pardon for their unbelief and their sins. They could change their mind on Jesus. The people had witnessed for themselves the healing power of Jesus, all they needed to do was repent.
How important it is, that we do not reject the ways of Jesus. We can all know His forgiveness and have new life.
It is part of our service as Christians to help others to turn to Christ and not away from Him. It is through the Holy Spirit that God gives us the power to live our lives, so that we are pleasing to Him, and helping others.
We may never have the opportunity to speak to large crowds, but we have a voice that can speak about Him, and our lives can tell of our love for Him. Opportunities to speak about our faith may come about quite naturally, not in a crowd, but in conversation with one person or more.
During this time of lockdown, we are told that many non-Christians have used technology to search for prayers, many have been listening to the numerous services that have been on YouTube and the like. Yes, people do need God, and even when life gets back to “normal” they will still need God.
So, stop avoiding telling people of Jesus, be compassionate to them, and tell of a God who has been so good to you.
The great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 tells us to take the gospel to all nations. We cannot rely on others to do what we should be doing. Outside of Jesus people will be lost, can we really leave people lost, with no hope when we have such a great message to proclaim?
Peter and John were taken to prison for speaking out. Many people through the ages have been imprisoned for their faith. We may not face a prison sentence for proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, but we may face opposition. All we have to do is stand firm and trust in Jesus.