Prayer: God our helper, by your Holy Spirit, open our minds that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may be led into your truth and taught your will, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This morning, we are going to be reading Acts 4,verses 1 through 14, but let me orient you to this particular story before we read the text because we are dropped into the middle of the action. In Acts, chapter 3, Luke describes the healing of a crippled man. He tells the story in a matter of fact way, but records that the crowds who witnessed the healing were utterly amazed. Peter directs the crowd’s attention away from the healed man and any attribution of personal power and instead boldly makes the claim that it was through Jesus’ name and all that Jesus had done in his life and in his death and in his resurrection, together with the faith that comes through him, which healed the man. It was after this sermon, and the conversion of thousands, that ultimately caused the religious authorities to arrest them.
Our scripture this morning comes from Acts Chapter 4, versus 1 – 14. Hear the word of God:
While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, 2much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. 3So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand.
5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. 14When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.