Peter and John are being questioned as to how they were able to heal a man who couldn’t walk and they simply proclaimed that they were able to do all these things because of the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is not a magical formula or a nice saying that Christians use but that the name of Jesus is actually the faith act of calling upon God’s attention and presence. If I were to call a person’s name, I will have their attention. If I asked that person to come to me, their presence will be drawn closer to me. It is the same way with the name of Jesus. When we use or call upon the name of Jesus we will see that we direct God’s attention and His presence into our situations.
In today’s passage we see how the Spirit empowers ordinary people to do the miraculous and how he continues to answer prayers for His people to continue to expand His kingdom.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
The goal for every Jewish boy was to be taken up by a rabbi so that they can learn from them to become one. They would spend every waking hour to memorize the Torah so that when the Rabbi who they wished to follow tested them, that they would be able to pass. Now this was a difficult task because they had to memorize everything and show that they were legit so the majority of people did not make it through the whole process. Now if you were not picked then you would go back to your family and simply pursue the family career whether that be in pottery or fishing.
If you remember, Peter and John were fishermen so therefore they obviously failed in their attempt to be accepted by a Rabbi for further training in the scriptures. When Jesus comes along and calls them to follow Him, it is not far-fetched that they drop everything to follow because that call was a second chance at a failed attempt to learn more about God. Little did the disciples know that the one that called them was God Himself.
So when the religious leaders saw all that these two “uneducated” men were doing, they were astonished because they were doing something that was beyond their capability, yet what they realized was the fact that they knew Peter and John were with Jesus.
When Jesus is in your life that he gives you the ability to do things that are beyond your capability or your training. The fact that the religious leaders recognized that they were with Jesus points to the purpose that when God puts talent in you it is for the fact that the glory goes onto God and not you! God can use anyone but a lot of times chooses to use the ones that may not have talent so that he can put talent in them so that when they are totally killing it in life because of it that the glory goes unto Him.
TAKE AWAY: God puts talent in you to do the extraordinary for the glory of HIS name
17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.
The religious leaders were trying to silence Peter and John from speaking in the name of Jesus but they were not going to be intimidated by the threats of man. They actually put the pressure on the religious leaders because they asked them to judge whether the apostles should listen to God or man and even the religious leaders know the obvious answer! They are in a tough spot because they are in a situation where they just won’t admit that they are in the wrong and are in direct opposition to God Himself because there is clear evidence of the move of God. How do we know clearly that there is a move of God? More than the miracle of a man being healed it is the reaction that occurs after where the people being to praise God. When people respond to situations by praising God then you know you are in the midst of a move of God. That is why at the end of this passage that the religious leaders could do nothing because they knew they were witnessing a move of God but would not acknowledge God.
TAKE AWAY: In the midst of the move of God, the proper response is praising Him and continual obedience to Him.
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them
When faced with a situation we are tempted to devise strategies and then when all of our strategies fail we throw out a last ditch effort prayer for God’s help. The apostles first strategy was prayer. In prayer we will find that we will get God’s strategy for our situations and they are more often times than not the best strategy.
TAKE AWAY: When in doubt pray it out. In other words, pray first, pray throughout, and never stop praying.
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
You know the type of prayers that God answers readily? The prayers that will glorify His name! While being persecuted the disciples asked not for safety (though it is not a bad thing to pray about!) nor that their enemies be smited in holy righteous anger but that they be given the boldness to preach! They asked for strength in the very thing that gets them in trouble because they have come to realize that their life is not their own but that it something that they willingly gave unto Jesus when they declared Him Lord and Savior.
When the disciples call themselves servants, that means something more than what we imagine in the modern day. The original word is actually bondservants which is a type of servant where the person willingly goes into service to a master. Why would someone do such a thing? Well in ancient times, people would become bondservants because they realized that the life they were to live on their own would be far worse than if they were attached to a master. They realize that it is better to live under a master and serve his agenda than possibly risk death at worst or at best a miserable life of begging.
When we make Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior we become bondservants. We have come to the realization that life under Jesus is far better than life on our own as we will realize that serving Jesus and being in His house is the best decision that we can ever make. The early church understood this and lived it out and reflected it through their prayers. God is looking in every generation for those who choose to live fully in His house to not only enjoy the being in a relationship with Him but to also to serve Him wholeheartedly.
TAKE AWAY: As servants of Jesus, let our prayer reflect that we prioritize God’s kingdom over everything else.