Lord, if obedience is a mark of faith, help me to show my faith by the way I live today.
Read Acts 5:17-32
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.
Peter went from being afraid of a servant girl (Luke 31:54-62), to defying the High Priest (29). It is obvious the Holy Spirit was at work in Peter (32).
It is very satisfactory to draw a line through a matter and delete it from your memory. “Move on,” we say; “that’s history.” But the ministry of Jesus is not that neat. He has a way of escaping that would make Houdini envious, and here he refuses to let his word or his people be imprisoned. There is something farcical in watching the authorities use all the pomp of high office to cover their basic instinct: jealousy. They strut in their self-importance only to be left looking foolish and open-mouthed. Imagine the laughter as this story is retold within the infant church. The Sanhedrin assembles to ratify the impulsive reaction of the high priest. With a word, they command their officers to bring in the prisoners. Then the script goes wrong, for no group of prisoners appears. Instead, they are already acting in a more impressive place–the temple–to a larger audience, with a more appreciative response.
All the carefully prepared appearance of civility has gone. To be so humiliated by such people is insufferable. The soldiers alone recognize a new world and avoid taking sides in obeying orders. Protected from the people, surrounded by his own sort, the high priest dismisses what he doesn’t understand. You can almost hear him spluttering before such willful disobedience. Worse, they are being accused of what, so short a time ago, they took pride in, namely the death of Jesus. Interestingly, he cannot force himself to utter Jesus’ name.
Peter has learned a lot in a short time. The resurrection has transformed his understanding of the cross. What was seemingly a disaster is now seen as God’s amazing way of providing forgiveness to all who repent. Having gotten it wrong before, Peter is now sure whose voice he will listen to.
Where are the tension points between your faith and your world? Pray for grace to make the right choices today.
Holy Spirit of God, I invite You into my life. Enliven and energize me so that I may courageously serve Christ.
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