Opening Prayer

Thank you, Father, that when I read your Word, I know I will always receive truth, reassurance, and hope from you.

Read ACTS 4:13–22

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Ask for God’s help as you try to bridge the gap between the ancient world of the Bible and our modern times.


Think Further

This passage provides us with a classic case study of the way in which people holding political or religious power may attempt to suppress truth when their authority and status is threatened. On the one hand, the rulers in Jerusalem were confronted with facts which they could not deny (v. 14) but, on the other hand, they used their power to control and restrict the flow of information, attempting to shut down the spread of the news of the resurrected Christ in the public sphere (v. 18).

This story could hardly be more relevant to the contemporary situation of Christianity in the modern world. Justo Gonzalez describes situations in Latin America where elite groups of wealthy people retain a monopoly of power and ‘are more interested in their own power and prestige than in the well-being of the lame man or of the people.’1 The revolutionary nature of the message of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ is revealed by the anxiety of the Jerusalem authorities to stop it ‘spreading any further among the people’ (v. 17). They seek to confine the resurrection faith within private spaces, but the response of Peter and John is to insist that they have no alternative but to be truthful witnesses to what they had ‘seen and heard’ (v. 20). This is not just an assertion of freedom of belief, but an affirmation that the resurrection is public truth which inaugurates a different world from the one the authorities seek to maintain. Lesslie Newbigin insisted that the resurrection empowers a countercultural community to live hopefully in a world without hope, praising the God who ‘breaks through fixed orders to create ever-new situations of surprise and joy.’2


Reflect on verse 13 and ask for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in your life.

Closing prayer

Lord God, root my confidence in you so that I can live my life full of courage, ready and even eager to serve you.

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by kingstar

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