Peter and John were proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, but some of the religious rulers or leaders in the temple of God didn’t like it. So, they arrested them. And then they brought them before them and inquired of them by what power or by what name they did this, which appeared to be about the healing of a crippled man. So Peter told them it was by the name of Jesus, whom they had crucified, but whom God had raised from the dead, that the man was standing before them well. And then Peter exclaimed,
“This 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” (Acts 4:11-12).
Acts 4:13-14 ESV
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”
I have always loved this passage of Scripture. Do you see what it is saying here? When the religious rulers who were opposing the apostles saw the boldness of Peter and John, and yet they knew they were uneducated and common men, they recognized that they had been with Jesus. They recognized that they were not operating in their own power and book smarts, but that they were being like Jesus.
They could see Jesus’ influence over their lives and that they truly were his disciples. They could see that they had the same passion for the same truth as Jesus had, and that they had the same boldness to speak the truth even if the truth was hard to hear, and even if it fell on deaf ears lots of times or met with severe opposition. They recognized that this boldness and power did not come from these men themselves but it was because of Jesus.
And I have to give these rulers some credit here that they were able to make that association between what these men were doing with Jesus Christ. For there are many professing Christians today who are not able to discern at all when someone is operating in the power of the Spirit or when they are operating in the flesh, and that is why many of them are following false teachers to a false gospel while they reject the Lord’s true servants and his true gospel. They don’t really know what Jesus looks like at all.
So, many professing Christians have a distorted view of who Jesus is and what he is about and thus they judge his servants and his gospel on that same basis. So, they don’t recognize those who have truly been with Jesus because they don’t really know what Jesus looks like, not in body, but in character, in heart, in passion, etc. And so they don’t know what the truth of the gospel looks like, either, for they have bought into the lies.
But there are some discerning followers of Jesus today who know the real Jesus and who recognize those who have been with Jesus, in truth, and who know the true gospel, too, and who are able to spot the lies of the false gospel immediately, for one because the lies are repeated over and over, word for word, by those who follow them, but also because the lies speak the opposite of the gospel that Jesus and his NT apostles taught.
But even though these religious rulers recognized that these men had been with Jesus, for they knew these men could not be doing what they were doing of their own nature, and they could see Jesus’ influence on their lives, they still refused to believe in Jesus and to accept the apostles and what they were teaching as truth. And many people today are where they were, recognizing Jesus and his influence but refusing to bow the knee to him.
Acts 4:15-17 ESV
“But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 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. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.’”
So, even though they could see that what took place in the healing of this man was supernatural, and even though they could recognize that these men had been with Jesus, because naturally they would not be able to do what they did and to speak with such boldness, they chose to reject it all, they chose to oppose the men and their gospel, and they chose to silence the men so that they would no longer speak to anyone about Jesus.
And there are many people there today, even many of them who profess the name of Jesus, who have been shown the truth of the gospel to where they can’t deny it because it is right there before their eyes, and yet they still reject it. And they still prefer the lies, for the lies allow them to keep on in their sinful practices, and the lies make no demands of them for holy living or for obedience to and submission to Christ as Lord.
Acts 4:18-20 ESV
“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”
I love this! Don’t you? Amen! And do you know that many pastors today are telling people in their congregations to not speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus? Now, they won’t word it that way, exactly. But they will silence them, nonetheless, from speaking the truth about Jesus and about his true gospel, because they don’t want the truth to be spoken because the truth offends people, and it makes them uncomfortable, and it judges them.
For they have adopted the ways of the world and the marketing schemes of human business models and so they are patterning their gatherings after the felt needs of the people of the world rather than after the teachings of God’s word regarding who the church is and on how she is to operate. And this is why they also altered the gospel message to make it more appealing to the people of the world for they want to attract the world, not turn them away.
We (myself and others) have faced this many times. The modern “church” of today, at least here in America, is rejecting the true gospel in favor of a cheap grace gospel which offends no one because it tells them they can believe in Jesus, be forgiven their sins, have heaven guaranteed them when they die, but that they don’t have to repent of their sins nor obey Jesus nor submit to him as Lord. And so they are free to continue in their sins.
So, they reject the message of the cross which demands death to sin and living to righteousness, and which teaches we must forsake our sins and follow Jesus in obedience or we don’t have eternal life with God. And so they also reject us who are still teaching the true gospel message, too.
But we must have the same response as Peter and John. We must listen to God, and not to humans who reject the truth, and we must keep speaking the truth of the gospel to all who will listen, for time is running out, and people need to be saved from their slavery to sin and to have the true hope of eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Songwriter: Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Give them rest, grant them rest
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Grant them eternal rest
Dona eis requiem
Caution: This link may contain ads