God Knows…When I Want to Get Ahead – Part 2
A handicapped man was begging for money at the Temple gates one day as Peter and John came to worship. The 40-year-old man had been crippled since birth. Perhaps he had hoped to be healed by Jesus, and had finally arrived in Jerusalem only to be disappointed by the news that Jesus had been crucified. Someone who felt sorry for him brought him each day to beg near the Temple. “Look at us,” said Peter. The man looked up hopefully. He held out his hand. Once again he felt disappointed, for Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have.”
Peter was connected to a Power, though, that could put strength into helpless muscles and dead nerves. “But what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,” Peter continued. Peter took him by the hand and helped him up, and “immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Walking, jumping for joy, and praising God, he went into the Temple with Peter and John.
Onlookers were amazed. The disciples were performing miracles similar to the ones Jesus had performed. Peter made it clear that it was faith in the power of Jesus that gave strength to heal the lame man. It was not by means of his own power or goodness (the best car in the world can’t run without energy from somewhere else!).
As people gathered around to see the healed man, Peter, no longer the coward, saw another chance to talk to them about Jesus. He reminded the people of how Jesus had been rejected and killed, and told them that Jesus was alive again. “I know that you [crucified Him] in ignorance,” he told them. “Repent therefore and be converted,” he advised. He assured them that through faith in Jesus their sins could be forgiven. They had no other hope.
Many believed. Others refused to admit that Christ, the Son of God, had risen from the dead. The religious leaders arrested Peter and John and put them in jail.
The next morning Peter and John were marched into the judgment hall—the very place where Jesus had been tried. What memories, especially for Peter! But Peter was different now. With the Holy Spirit giving him power, guidance, and courage, Peter resolved to honor the name he had once pretended not to know.
“How did you heal this man?” demanded on of the judges. “Where did you get your power? Whose name did you use?”
“Let it be known to you all, 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 stands here before you whole,” Peter boldly replied.
How shocked Annas, Caiaphas, and the others were. Peter certainly wasn’t afraid now. They listened as Peter went on. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The judges had nothing to say. Right beside Peter stood the healed man. What could they do? They decided to threaten Peter and John and command them to stop preaching and teaching.
Peter and John knew they couldn’t obey such a rule. With great courage they said, “You decide for yourselves if God wants us to listen to you rather than to Him. As for us, we can’t stoop telling everyone what we have seen and heard.” Law and order are important. But when the claims of human government conflict with the claims of God, God is the top authority, the supreme court of the universe.
Muttering warnings, the rulers let Peter and John go. The other disciples had been praying for Peter and John. Now, back together, they sang praises and prayed for more power and strength to speak the Word of God.
It’s obvious that the way to have power, the way to get ahead in the “human race” is to connect with power. God is the power source and the Holy Spirit conveys this power to us. We don’t fully understand electricity, yet we plug in and use it every day. Similarly, though we cannot explain the Holy Spirit, this power is real and available.
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