Do you like adventure? Most of us enjoy a good story, whether it’s a book, a movie, or the tales of a friend who experienced an exciting escapade. If it’s well written or told well, or has believable dialogue and good actors, we can get caught up in the action so much so that we feel we’ve experienced it personally.
That’s what the book of Acts is for me. When the Holy Spirit fell on those first apostles, the church was birthed. (This was the real “big bang”!) The city of Jerusalem did not know what hit them! These ordinary, unschooled men began to preach, teach and heal with such power and authority they became, literally, the talk of the town. The name of Jesus was being proclaimed without apology. You can imagine the conversations among the Pharisees as they realize that crucifying Jesus did not put an end to this disturbing group of passionate followers. Instead, His death and resurrection had galvanized them into more visibility and was impacting the city beyond their control.
Today’s read of Acts 3:1-6:7 should inspire every true believer who follows this same Jesus. Peter, John, and the other disciples weren’t preaching and teaching to be obnoxious or offend people. They simply could not be silent about what they had seen and heard. They KNEW Jesus was alive. They KNEW He was the Messiah. They were so filled with the Spirit of God and could not stop what was happening if they wanted. After all, wasn’t this what Jesus came for? To preach repentance? To redeem the world? To rescue captives from the domain of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of God? How could they keep this good news to themselves?
It didn’t matter when they were thrown into prison. God opened the doors and brought them out, and they went on rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name. It didn’t matter when “those in charge,” told them to sit down and be quiet and stop mentioning Jesus’ name. They knew that they must obey God rather than men.
Perhaps the cultural voices of our day should take a page out of Acts and listen to the advice of Gamaliel. The Sanhedrin was so angry they were willing to do whatever it took to shut down the followers of Jesus, even kill them. Gamaliel reminded them of several other false teachers who had come and gone. He wisely said, “Leave them alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (5:33-39)
Here’s the takeaway. If you know the truth, if you’ve received the incredible gift of understanding the gospel and have experienced salvation, you KNOW Jesus is alive. You KNOW He is the Messiah. And His mission for us is the same as it was for Peter, John, and the other apostles: to tell the world about Him. The church was not able to be destroyed or stopped in its early days of infancy, and it will not be stopped now. Keep living and sharing and talking about Jesus. Don’t just read about adventure…live it!