We continue reading the dramatic and exciting account (written by Luke) of the events after Jesus ascended to heaven and the disciples received the gifts of the spirit Jesus had promised to them. (Acts 2 v. 7-14) Their inspired preaching was supported by the miracles they were able to do. (Acts 3) What an audience they now had.
When Peter and John were arrested and they “put them in custody” [4 v.3], the “high priest” [v.6] and other officials were perplexed as to how they could stop them: Peter declared, ” let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.” [v.10]
The disciples were no longer frightened – or timid – the wonder of the resurrection had transformed them and the gifts of the spirit authenticated their message. Peter declared, “Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [v.11,12] And that has been the essential truth of the message ever since!
The members of the council are perplexed, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.” [v.16]
Sadly today men do “deny it” – seeing it largely as fiction – if they ‘see’ it at all – they don’t want to begin to consider it – most even deny there is a Creator and foolishly say that all the incredible wonders that exist – sort of ‘created’ themselves!
Peter and John, after their release “went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.” [v.23] this caused them all to lift “voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them ...” [v.24]
Some of the words they then quote from Psalm 2 will soon be so appropriate for today – ” ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’ “.
When Jesus returns – their “rage” will turn into wonderment – they will be forced to say “we cannot deny it.” But all who do not “deny it” now – indeed, rejoice in their convictions about it – will one day – and how soon(!) take part in the fulfilment of the words the Creator prophesied through Isaiah. “be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.” [65 v.18]