Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. ~Acts 4:13
As I write this devotion, I am preparing for the privilege of preaching the gospel to as many as 10,000 unsaved people in the next two days. My heart is overwhelmed with anticipation as well as awe in such an opportunity. As Christians we read through the Book of Acts and we wonder if the days of great evangelism are still possible. I believe they are! In fact, I believe the Book of Acts is God’s strategy for winning souls, reaching the masses, and structuring the work for God to keep His blessings on the church. This morning let us see a work of the past that is a thrilling picture of the marvelous grace of our Lord at work and how we can have this same power.
We see the explosion.
“Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.” A lame man was healed by God through Peter. His healing became a focal point for thousands to assemble at the Gate called Beautiful. There Peter saw a wonderful opportunity to preach the gospel to this crowd of Jews. He preached the gospel energetically. He preached the gospel with expectation. As he preached the gospel, he saw an explosion! We are told that 5,000 men (not including women and children) accepted Christ as Savior! God gave the church an outpouring of His marvelous grace. God saw a church that had capacity in every way needed to assimilate an enormous explosion of people into the church. Are you ready for God to do something like this in your church?
We see the exasperation.
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Not everyone present was happy at what the Holy Spirit did. The crusty, hypocritical and gainsaying Jewish leaders became incensed that a mass of people placed their faith in Jesus. The devil hates it when the gospel is preached. He hates it when people get saved. So, this hatred is channeled through the Jewish leaders and out of exasperation, Peter and John are placed in hold. We God’s marvelous grace is at work is at work, be prepared for interferences and interruptions from Satan.
We see the explanation.
“And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” The Jewish leaders examine closely this once lame man and see a man who is walking. They want to know how it is possible that ordinary and uneducated fishermen perform such a feat. They are trying to discredit what God did the night before. Peter is filled with the Spirit and says, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Peter made it simple for them to understand. The power in the name of Jesus performed this work of marvelous grace! He made sure they knew it was not just a power or just a name, but the power in the name of Jesus that made the man whole. Let us remember that if you can explain a work of God other than through Him, God is not in it.
We see the extraordinary.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Here is the secret to Peter’s successful campaign: the opposition saw Peter and John had been with Jesus! They could tell they had been with Him in private, in prayer, and in possession. They had all of Jesus and Jesus had all of them! The marvelous grace of our Lord is ready to be exhibited in the lives of those who take time to be with Him.
Have an extraordinary God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 16-18