Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them “Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man – by what means he was healed – let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead – by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. Acts 4:8-10 HCSB
Compare the difference between the Peter filled with the Holy Spirit with the Peter who denied even knowing Jesus Christ. When Peter was standing around the fire warming himself to see what was going to happen to Jesus Christ who had been arrested and taken to stand before the Jewish leaders, he was identified as one of Jesus’ disciples. He denied even knowing Jesus three times. The Peter filled with the Holy Spirit boldly stood before the Jewish rulers who had just ordered Jesus to be crucified and defended his own actions with those of John in healing the disabled man. He clearly claimed that the man was healed by the name of Jesus Christ whom the Jewish council had crucified but whom God had raised from the dead.
Today those who are filled with the Holy Spirit can boldly witness for Jesus Christ and confidently know that Jesus will give them the power to stand against any who are opposing them. When someone accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within that person. The Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin, gives direction, and even provides boldness and confidence so a person can give a strong witness for Jesus Christ.
Challenge: As a believer, you can be assured that you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Tap into the power that the Holy Spirit can give you and pray for the same type of boldness that Peter had as he stood before the Jewish council.
The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. After they had Peter and John stand before them they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?” Acts 4:5-7 HCSB
I have had the privilege of going to Washington, DC and have visited where the Senate and Congress meet. Both the Senate and House are beautiful places and it is amazing to think of the many men in history who have met faithfully and given leadership to America. These Senators and Congressman have the power to make laws and change the course of American history.
This Scripture references rulers, elders, and scribes who assembled as the Jewish Council or the Sanhedrin Council – the same council that had condemned Jesus to death (Luke 22:66). It had 70 members plus the high priest who presided over the group. Annas was the high priest that had been removed by the Roman government from that position and replaced by his son-in-law, Caiaphas. The Jews still included Annas in the group and looked to him as the leader even though he did not officially hold the position of high priest. They asked Peter and John to reveal and justify by what power or in what name they had healed the lame man. They wanted to know who was behind this miracle. Peter and John were a threat to them and what they believed.
Challenge: Ask yourself the same question, “Who is behind what has happened in your life?” “What power has influenced your life?” “To what extent do you claim Jesus’ power?” Praise God that He has given you power through the Holy Spirit to face opposition.
So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000. Acts 4:3-4 HCSB
Going to jail has sometimes been used as a fundraiser. A person is put in jail and then has to call friends and relatives to get them to give money to a particular cause. When a pre-determined amount of money has been raised the person is released from jail. In this case, going to jail can be a fun experience, but in reality no one really wants to be locked up and lose his freedom.
The Sadducees instructed the temple police to arrest Peter and John and hold them until the next day. The religious leaders thought they could silence Peter and John by arresting them but note that the message of Jesus Christ was not stopped. People who heard the message believed and 5,000 men accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.
Challenge: Would you be willing to go to jail so 5,000 men could be saved? Would you be willing to take a stand for Christ even though you would be persecuted and possibly killed because of your beliefs? Just as Peter and John were willing to take risks for sharing the Gospel message, you must be willing to face risks to take a stand for your Christian beliefs. Nothing done for God is ever wasted. God can take even the negative, like being arrested, and make good come from it.
Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as the example. Acts 4:1-2 HCSB
We just celebrated Easter Sunday – a time to recognize and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some people question if Jesus rose from the dead. Some claim that the body of Jesus was stolen by His disciples. All but one of Jesus’ disciples died a martyr’s death because of their belief that Jesus rose from the dead. It is hard to believe that all of these disciples would be willing to die for a lie. In addition to the Bible, there are other secular historical accounts that record the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter and John had just healed the lame man and were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who were instrumental in the crucifixion of Jesus were confronting them and their teachings. The Sadducees were a small but very powerful religious group that did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They did not like what Peter and John were teaching and challenged them in front of all of the people.
Challenge: If you are a believer, you will someday be resurrected from the dead because Jesus has conquered death and lives today. He has promised that He is going to prepare a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-3). Oh death, where is your sting? Praise God that you know for sure that death has been swallowed up and you have eternal life. For more information on the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, go to www.desiringgod.org
But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went home, amazed at what had happened. Luke 24:11-12 HCSB
I am amazed at what Jordan Spieth, professional golfer, has accomplished. He is only 22 years old and has already won two major golf tournaments and is ranked number one in the world. What he has accomplished at such a young age was exemplified when he was recently paired with an amateur who is a senior in college. They are both the same age. The amateur is hoping to someday play on the PGA tour. Jordan has only played on the tour since 2012 and has accomplished something that most professional golfers only dream of accomplishing in a lifetime of golf. It is hard to believe that such a young golfer could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time.
When the women told the apostles that Jesus was alive they did not believe them. Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself and as he looked into the empty tomb the Scriptures record that he only saw the linen cloths that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. He was amazed at what had happened. If the body had been taken the linen cloths would have still been on the body. The linen cloths were proof that what the women had said was actually true. Jesus is alive!
Challenge: What Jesus accomplished is so much greater than what any man has ever accomplished. He died for the sins of all mankind and rose from the dead. Praise God that Jesus is alive! Praise Him for all He has done for you!
“He is not here, He has been resurrected! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, “The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day?” And they remembered His words. Luke 24:6-8 HCSB
There are many different religions in the world. All of these religions have one thing in common – the leader who started the religion is now dead and buried. Only one religion, Christianity, claims that the leader not only died and was buried, but that He was resurrected from the dead and lives today. Buddha’s body was cremated and the ashes were placed in monuments; Mohammad’s remains lie in a grave in the city of Medina; Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, is buried at the Smith Family Cemetery in Illinois; Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, is buried is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. The body of Jesus Christ was resurrected and is no longer in the grave! He is alive! No other religion can make such a claim.
The resurrection is essential to the Christian faith. Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity is like all of the other world religions. The resurrection means that we have hope for the future because death has been conquered. The resurrection means that we have a leader who is alive and giving direction to this world. The resurrection means that someday we will be raised from the dead and have eternal life. The resurrection means that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us as believers. Without the resurrection there would not be any Christian church today.
Challenge: Celebrate the risen Lord this Easter by attending an Easter worship service in your community. Invite someone to go with you who needs to hear the Good News that Jesus is risen and is alive! Because He lives you know that as a believer you will someday have eternal life in heaven.
While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. Luke 24:4-5 HCSB
Statistics show that more people attend church on Easter than any other Sunday during the year. Many people may attend out of habit or family tradition rather than out of a real desire to worship the risen Lord. Easter provides an excellent opportunity to share the miracle of the resurrection with a lost and dying world.
These woman came to the tomb looking for a dead body. They were perplexed to find that the tomb was empty when two angels asked them, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” This question emphasized that Jesus was alive. Because Jesus is alive, we all should worship Jesus as the risen Lord on Easter and every other Sunday of the year.
Challenge: Are you looking for the living among the dead? Know that Jesus is alive and well. He is in control. He has conquered sin and death. He deserves your love, devotion, and worship. Invite someone to join you this Easter to worship the risen Lord.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1 HCSB
It was fun to plan a surprise birthday party for my wife. I took her out to eat while people gathered at our house. The guests had parked down the street at the neighborhood school. When we came home, the house was dark but as we walked in the door the lights came on and all the people shouted, “Surprise – Happy Birthday!”
Just imagine the surprise of the women when they arrived at the tomb and the stone was rolled away. The tomb was cut into the rock. A stone weighing approximately one ton was used to seal the entrance to the tomb. Obviously, the women would not have had the strength to move the stone and would have needed some help to do so. Mark 16:3 records that the women wondered who would roll away the stone. Additionally, Matthew 27:65-66 records that the tomb was heavily guarded. The women were even more surprised when they went in the tomb and did not find the body. Certainly, they must have wondered what had happened.
Challenge: In what ways have you been surprised by what the Lord has done for you? Surprise someone today with an unexpected blessing.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. Luke 24:1 HCSB
I am not a morning person. It is much easier for me to stay up late than to get up early, however my wife has made the observation that if I need to get up early to go play golf that it seems easier for me to wake up early. Sometimes what we are doing is what motivates our activity.
The women were motivated to get up very early and head to the tomb of Jesus. They had watched Jesus die on the cross on Friday and had not done any work as required on the Sabbath day from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Evidently, they had worked after sundown on Saturday to prepare the spices to anoint Jesus’ body. They were eager to get to the tomb early on Sunday morning so they could properly prepare Christ’s body for burial. Without the ability to embalm a body, it was customary to put sweet smelling spices on the body to mask the smell of a decaying body. It was also a way to honor the one who had died, much like we do today when we send flowers.
Challenge: What are you doing to honor Jesus Christ? Are you motivated to spend time with Jesus? Do you get up early to spend time with the Lord each day?
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 HCSB
One of the main reasons that most churches exist is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and help people come to accept Jesus as Lord and be saved. When I served on staff at First Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas just about every Sunday we joyfully observed the ordinance of baptism for those who were being saved.
These Scriptures tell us that the early church had people being saved every day. It is exciting to see people come to Christ and be saved. Every church should be seeing people saved on a regular basis, but too often our churches have become more inwardly focused. They plan ministry events related to what the people inside the church want and need rather than focusing on what the people outside the church need.
Note that the people had joyful and humble attitudes, praising God and having favor with all people. Too often I have seen Christian people witness to others with an attitude of superiority. They often do not have a very joyful attitude and tend to alienate people by their haughtiness.
Challenge: Attitude check! Do you have the right attitude of being joyful and humble? Do you really care about those who are outside the church and need Christ or are you more concerned with your own preferences in the preaching, music, and teaching and even the color of the carpet or the paint on the walls at your church?