Acts 4: It’s not always easy to defend the truth

January 1st, 2007

Why doesn’t everyone just tell the truth? One problem is that dishonesty does provide a benefit for an individual at the expense of everybody else. Another problem is that people don’t always agree on what the truth might be. There can be different shades of truth, and truth can be seen from different perspectives. You’re less likely to believe something to be true if it’s not going to be profitable for you or if it’s something you don’t want to know about. You’re less likely to want to inquire into the truth if you think that the outcome isn’t likely to be something that benefits you.

The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 4

4:1 As they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came up to them, 4:2 upset because they were telling the people and announcing resurrection from the dead through Jesus. 4:3 They arrested them, and put them in custody until the next day, because it was now evening. 4:4 Many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of people grew to about five thousand.

4:5 In the morning the officials, elders and religious lawyers happened to be meeting together in Jerusalem. 4:6 Annas the high priest was there, with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all the relatives of the high priest. 4:7 Once Peter and John had been brought before them, they inquired, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

4:8 Peter was full of the Holy Spirit and said, “Officials of the people and elders of Israel, 4:9 if we are being cross-examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, and being asked how this man has been healed, 4:10 let all of you and all the people of Israel know that this man stands healed before you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 4:11 He is ‘the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.’ 4:12 There is no one else who can give salvation, and there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we can be saved!”

4:13 When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and could see that they were uneducated and ignorant men, they were amazed. They recognized that they had been with Jesus. 4:14 Seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 4:15 They ordered them to leave the council, then discussed the matter amongst themselves, 4:16 saying, “What will we do to these men? It’s obvious to everyone who lives in Jerusalem that a remarkable miracle has been done through them, and we can’t deny it. 4:17 But to stop this spreading further amongst the people, let’s warn them that from now on they must not speak to anyone in this name.” 4:18 They summoned them and ordered them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus.

4:19 But Peter and John answered them, “You can judge for yourselves whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, 4:20 because we can’t help talking about the things which we saw and heard.”

4:21 After threatening them some more they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, because everyone was praising God for the thing which had been done. 4:22 The man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

4:23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John found the other believers and told them everything which the senior priests and elders had said. 4:24 When they heard it, the believers with one mind lifted their voice to God, “O Lord, you are God. You made heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. 4:25 By the mouth of your servant David you said, ‘Why do the nations rage, and the people plan something useless? 4:26 The kings of the earth came and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ 4:27 In this city Herod and Pontius Pilate gathered together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, 4:28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to happen. 4:29 Now, Lord, see their threats, and give your servants courage to tell your message with all boldness, 4:30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, so that signs and wonders can be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus.”

4:31 When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the message of God with boldness. 4:32 The whole group of believers were of one heart and soul. They did not claim that any of the things which they possessed were their own. Instead, they shared everything. 4:33 The apostles gave their testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. Huge grace was on them all. 4:34 No-one amongst them was in need, because those who owned properties or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 4:35 and placed them at the apostles’ feet, and they were distributed to anyone who needed them. 4:36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles named Barnabas, meaning Son of Encouragement, 4:37 sold a field which he owned and brought the money to place at the apostles’ feet.

Entry Filed under: Perseverance

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » You&hellip  |  August 29th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    […] Chapter 4 of the Acts of the Apostles describes a group of officials, priests and religious lawyers facing an analogous dilemma. The message being proclaimed by the followers of Jesus was creating a threat to their power base. Peter and John had apparently healed in the name of Jesus a paraplegic man who was more than 40 years old, and no-one doubted the reality of the miracle. Is that something they should have just let go, or should they have tried to hush it up? […]

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