June 19

Acts 4:1-22

In chapter 3, it was no small gathering over the miracle given to the lame man and Peter’s sermon It took BOLDNESS for Peter and John to attract attention and speak of JESUS in a climate where many religious Jews thought they were done with Jesus’ influence after putting Him through such torture and death on a cross. In verse 2, it says those religious leaders were “greatly disturbed” these disciples were saying Jesus was resurrected. I think “greatly disturbed” was putting it mildly. The religious leaders came and took Peter and John, keeping them in custody until the next day.

Why did Peter and John heal and preach? Well, four thousand men believed in Christ, and probably many more with women and children. Worth it! Peter and John knew the risk and took it, knowing God was going to show up through their testimony. Hallelujah!

On that next day, Peter and John were made to stand before the Sanhedrin, a gathering of officials, a sort of Jewish court. They were against this cause of Jesus Christ, and they didn’t waste any time in dealing with His disciples. They asked Peter and John straight away, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The anointing of God filled Peter in that moment. God empowered Peter with anointed words that came up out of his spirit – words that the Holy Spirit was affirming. Wasn’t Peter already filled with the Holy Spirit? Yes, he was, but the Holy Spirit will give special power for a specific purpose. For example, the Holy Spirit was always with Jesus, but there were times when the power of God was “present” in a room or the power of God would “flow” out of Him. The Holy Spirit is within the Spirit-filled believer, but the Holy Spirit will also come upon a believer with a special anointing when needed.

I’m sure Peter was aware of the anointing to speak in that moment before the Sanhedrin. Sometimes the listener can perceive when the anointing comes on a person, and sometimes people can miss it. Some think the anointing is there when a preacher starts to shout, but that isn’t necessarily so. Some think the anointing is there when someone has a manifestation, but that isn’t always the case. We need discernment to receive, not only from the preacher, but from the Holy Spirit Himself.

If you have ever felt that your past failures or mistakes have disqualified you from ministry, be sure that is a lie. Reject that way of thinking, and embrace the grace of God. Look at Peter. He denied Christ, he is in danger of persecution and death from religious leaders, yet here he is standing up for Christ before the Sanhedrin.

Peter mentions the miracle of a man everyone was familiar with because of his condition and his placement at the temple gate every day. It was an undeniable miracle. He uses the miracle as a catalyst to share Jesus with the religious leaders. They carried authority and power over the Jews and the beloved temple. Peter didn’t shrink back from sharing Christ with these spiritual leaders. He could have kept quiet, but he didn’t. He wanted to spread the Gospel, and he hoped his leaders would embrace the Messiah as well.

Peter quotes Scripture about a rejected stone, now a cornerstone. Peter boldly refers to Jesus, a rejected Messiah, now the foundation of a new covenant for all nations. These leaders rejected Christ before His ascension, and they hated Him after His ascension. Now they would have to not only deal with Christ’s disciples, but with a new movement as well. They believed in a salvation of the heart rather than a salvation from Rome. How could the religious leaders stop an invisible kingdom with Jesus as king? They couldn’t. But they tried.

The religious leaders saw the healed man, standing up on his feet. They knew him.

The religious leaders heard the disciples say Jesus was the Messiah and saw Him alive after the resurrection and saw their boldness. They marveled that they were uneducated and untrained in the rabbinical schools.

They could not deny the physical miracle that everyone knew about; however, they wanted to stop the spread of this movement. They commanded Peter and John to stop speaking about Jesus.

Peter was not quiet when told not to speak of His Savior. He said he would listen to God and he would speak what he had seen and heard. He was passionate. He was bold. He was sincere. He was convicted. Surely the leaders could see that. However, they continued to threatened them, ordering them to stop this Jesus movement.

The religious leaders knew they were being watched by thousands of witnesses to a miracle. They could not punish Peter and John in front of them. They let them go. Remember that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would give the believe boldness. That boldness comes from experiencing the power of the Spirit that comes on us. Peter and John did not act in their own strength; they were men moved by the Spirit of God. The anointing was for the purpose of starting a fire of revival that would spread among the Jews before they were scattered by attacks of Rome. This fire was breaking out, and nothing and no one could stop it.

This same Holy Spirit is with us today. He is still empowering the Spirit-filled believer to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the Spirit gave boldness to Peter and John, then surely, He will do the same for us. Certainly, He will empower us to speak up at work, in the marketplace, in our neighborhood, or wherever there are people who need the Lord. Who is thankful for the anointing? I know I am!

Nehemiah 9-11

The Hebrews align their hearts with the Father’s heart, surrendering to His love with repentant hearts and making commitments to walk in His ways and give Him their worship. Chapter 9 is filled with a focus on the goodness of God and the people’s response to God’s love. He is the same God in both testaments; there’s just different covenants.

The covenant is sealed in chapter 10, and in chapter 11 there is record of people inside and outside of Jerusalem. This is a new day for Judah! God is rebuilding His people.

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