Power In Weakness
Great Shepherd, I pray Your touch will bring healing and wholeness of spirit to me and those I love today.
Read Acts 4:13-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The apostles had little theology, but they had Jesus. They could not understand him, but they could not deny him” (Richard Halverson).
There are times when I can sympathize with the new atheists; their critique of formal religion often resonates with the rising generation who dislike its elements of elitism, formality, and tendency to protect its own interests. The worst elements of formal religion are undoubtedly those which exploit the weak, whether the vulnerability of the child or the desperation of the poor. In today’s passage one of the ugly features of religious authority is the desire to protect its vested interests rather than to pursue the truth.
We can see how futile such actions always are. In this instance, Luke makes the point neatly: “Since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say” (14). They tried, of course, commanding Peter and John to stop teaching in the name of Jesus (17), and ever since, the disciples’ reply has given steely resolve to Christians charged by secular authorities to act in ways which oppose God’s purposes. Luke emphasizes the clumsy posturing of trained religious leaders, commenting that they took note of the courage of “unschooled, ordinary men” (13). And it has often been that way. Certainly, we need trained theologians and apologists and we should embrace appropriate learning and scholarship, but Paul was at pains to underline that, in a city proud of its learning and oratory, “not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential” (1 Cor. 1:26).
In other words, what really matters is the quality of our relationship with Jesus Christ (13). As we come to know him more fully, we “cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (20) even if, as for some of our fellow believers, it costs us everything we have.
Pray for Christians under pressure to deny Christ because of hostile authorities in their country, that God will give them the courage to stand firm in Christian obedience.
“They took note that these men had been with Jesus” (13). Lord, make that evident in my life, too.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.