“But when we talk about passion in prayer, I sure don’t want to leave the impression that the only prayer God hears is the kind that’s spoken at high volume, with sweat and tears and shaking fists and extraordinary energy…Because praying-reaching outward and upward to Him-is the way His passion comes down.”
Priscilla Shirer from Fervent
In spite of the uproar, five thousand believed and were added to the church that day. “The change is not the end.”
The teaching and preaching of Peter and John angered the priests, the captain of the temple police, and the representatives of the Jewish sect of the Sadducees. They were furious that the people were being taught that in Jesus there is a resurrection from the dead. So while Peter and John were still speaking, the Jewish authorities came to the temple courts to oppose them. They had them arrested, and since it was already evening they kept them in custody until the next day.
~Acts 4:1-3 The Passion Translation
As Peter and John are escorted away, we are left with these words:
YET (emphasis mine) there were many in the crowd who believed the message, bringing the total number of men who believed to nearly five thousand!
By now you have been with me eight days. I am guessing if you are the tiniest bit familiar with my words, or my story, then you know what I am going to say next. Much to the vexation of my Sweet Man and Soul Sister, I am a smidge predictable, and absolutely the most flexible, inflexible soul you will ever meet. ~smile
There are words in the Bible that grip my soul, causing me to hold my breath ’till my finger tracks what comes next. Words like, “But God,” and “Yet.”
In the midst of uncertainty, there is always hope. Always.
We have witnessed a healing, power surges through the feet of a lame man, we watch him leap about and dance around.
What follows, awe and amazement, an angry confrontation, an abrupt, exit stage left. And right smack in the middle of the chaos, three letters, one word, says it all. YET there were many in the crowd who believed the message! (emphasis mine)
Hope. Hope rises. Hope prevails. Hope sows seeds of faith in our hearts. And with that, the impossible becomes the possible. Can I tell you, this is where I often find myself, praying to the God of impossible things to work in the seemingly impossible situation?
Peter and John stand before the counsel, answer their questions in such a way, they are baffled as to what to do with them.
It is clear, they have encountered conviction, courage, boldness, and more than that, The Power, possessed within. Scratching their heads at all they see, they cannot help themselves, knowing something had to be done. Something to shut the Jesus followers down. As they grow in number daily, the urgency in the council members grows as well.
The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him. ~Acts 4:13 The Passion Translation.
Ordinary, uneducated men, through the power of God, the Holy Spirit within, are able to do abundantly, exceedingly more than we can ever imagine. This gives me such hope. Does it you?
There’s no crime to charge them with, this is obvious to the council, there is nothing to do but to let them go. I have to wonder if they were a bit intimidated by the power they saw in these ordinary men?
They commanded them to never teach the people or speak again using the name of Jesus.
Peter and John boldly reply:
“You can judge for yourselves-is it better to listen to you or to God? It’s impossible for us to stop speaking about all the things we’ve seen and heard!” ~Acts 4:19-20 The Passion Translations.
On the other side of town, all the people were praising God for the healing miracle. And what a miracle it was, for now we are told this crippled beggar was over forty years old! Forty years living a crippled and broken life, through the name of Jesus, he is leaping and dancing!
As soon as they were released from custody, Peter and John went to the other believers and explained all that had happened with the high priest and the elders. When the believers heard their report, they raised their voices in unity and prayed…
They prayed the words of David and their own, and these:
So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus! ~Acts 4:29-30 The Passion Translation
Stop. Right. There.
What occurs to me as I read these words is this; they did not ask God to remove the threat or the harm. No. Rather, they asked Him to empower them through his hand to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of Jesus!
Had I been there, I would have prayed, that I know. I also know I would have prayed he remove the harm and then empower me.
The new believers, young in their faith, prayed outward and upward to him. And when they did, the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble.
At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.
~Acts 4:31 The Passion Translation
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Gifts of Grace