InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday, October 01, 2010
Read | Acts 4:13
Peter and John Arrested
1As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11“He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Threat and Release
13Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. 14And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17“But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. 23When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, 25who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘WHY DID THE [a]GENTILES RAGE,
AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?
26‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND,
AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER
AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’
27“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Sharing among Believers
32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Anyone who studies God’s ways soon realizes they are quite different from man’s. Worldly wisdom says that extraordinary people and abundant resources are needed for great tasks, yet the Lord often chooses the small and insignificant to achieve His purposes on earth.
For example, Christ selected a rather unimpressive group of men as disciples, yet after being filled with the Spirit, they “turned the world upside down.” During His ministry on earth, Jesus fed thousands with a child’s meager lunch, and He viewed the widow’s two small coins as a greater offering than all the other generous donations (John 6:5-12; Luke 21:2-3).
God specializes in using people who aren’t naturally qualified to accomplish His tasks. Moses was a verbally impaired 80-year-old shepherd who liberated a nation. After Gideon hid from the enemy, God made him a valiant warrior. David was the overlooked youngest son who killed a giant with a small stone and became Israel’s greatest king.
God isn’t looking for impressive people; He wants willing ones who will bow the knee in humble submission. Being weak and ordinary doesn’t make you useless. Rather, it positions you for a demonstration of divine power in your life. He takes insignificant ones and delights in making them great.
Have you ever considered that your lack of ability, talent, or skill is the ideal setting for a great display of Christ’s power and glory? If you are willing to submit to His leading and venture into the scary yet rewarding territory of faith and obedience, He will do great things in and through you.