Summary: Seek the truth and stand strong. Know your identity and be strong. Exercise authority and stay strong.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave the disciples exceptional courage to bear witness to Christ.
• They showed unwavering faith in Jesus, despite the danger and opposition.
• They were strong because of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Peter did not mince his words. The people did wrong when they crucified Jesus.
• They needed to repent and believe in Jesus, their Messiah, and receive God’s forgiveness.
• This is the truth, and Peter preached it as it is. They got to tell the world what they have seen and heard.
The religious ones among them did not like what they were hearing.
• The truth can hurt, particularly if we are brought up believing otherwise. It is uncomfortable when confronted by the truth.
• But the truth stands. Truth cannot change. Our belief does not make it true; we believe because it is true. We have to change and align ourselves to the truth.
It is not easy; especially we have gotten to believe in something for many years.
• It wasn’t easy for the religious ones in Acts 4, especially the Sadducees (4:1).
• They do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and Peter was preaching about the risen Christ and the need to trust Him as their Saviour.
This was unfortunate. If they have trusted Christ, they would have experienced the forgiveness of sin and a new life in Christ.
(1) SEEK THE TRUTH and stand strong
JESUS: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
We go by what is true, not what is popular, what is trendy, what is the latest…
• Peter challenged the gathering of the rulers, elders and scribes in the Sanhedrin Council to put away their false belief and trust in the risen Christ.
• He was not trying to be unreasonable. He was simply presenting the truth of “what we have seen and heard” (4:20), attested by the miraculous healing of this crippled man.
Yet the Council chose to ignore what they saw and heard. Their resolution was to silence Peter and John – “speak no longer to anyone in this name” (4:17).
• They have chosen to ignore the truth. Not that they were not given the chance, they have decided not to take it up.
• It is not that God has not revealed. Rather, man has chosen to ignore.
• It is so easy to keep to what I used to think, to keep to the status quo, to keep to what I LIKE to believe.
We want to SEEK the truth, KNOW the truth, and ALIGN ourselves to the truth of God’s Word.
• We cannot change the truth. We can only change our thinking, our behaviour, our attitudes, our choices - and align them with God’s truth.
• When we do that, we experience life in its fullest, according to God’s original intent and plan.
Unfortunately, the religious ones felt that they know best. The Sanhedrin Council wanted to silence the truth.
• The Sanhedrin is like a religious Supreme Court, comprising over 70 religious elites, among them rulers (former high priests), elders (leading seniors in the society) and the scribes (mainly Pharisees, experts in the Jewish law).
• You can understand why they felt that they know best – they were the educated lot, the wisest ones among the people.
• Imagine this scene, we have 2 ex-fishermen standing in the presence of people with authority, status and scholarship, and the elites were stunned by their courage and the clarity of their message.
Their courage was clearly noticeable because they were unschooled and ordinary men (4:13).
• Unschooled as in not educated in the Law, unlike the Pharisees and priests.
• Yet Peter spoke with great confidence. It was as if he has some authority backing him up – like some scholarships or credentials.
• The truth is he has some form of authority - the authority of Jesus Christ!
(2) KNOW YOUR IDENTITY and be strong
Confidence comes from his relationship with Jesus Christ.
• Peter says he cannot stop speaking about Christ. 4:20 “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
• The disciples knew Him. They saw Him. They heard Him. They are witnesses.
• The Council saw that too, and “took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (4:13)
Their confidence comes from their relationship with Christ. This relationship emboldens them. They know which side they are on.
• It actually took Peter quite a while to get here. Remember, after Jesus was arrested, Peter was questioned by a girl in the temple courts, and he was so frightened he denied knowing Christ.
• Now the same Peter was being questioned by the Council, and he was able to challenge them to put their trust in Christ.