While I was in Israel on tour many, many years ago, we stopped by the house of Peter in Capernaum. Close by (Peter’s House) is the 2000 year old Roman Road lined with stones and palm trees. I remember looking at the ruins that tradition called Peter’s House and thinking of the man Jesus dearly loved but also rebuked because of Peter’s idolatry. As I walked the ruins, I was impressed not so much by the structure and stones but by something that spoke directly to my heart. It was the row of palm trees that were casting a shadow behind on the path. Again, I was reminded of the events after the crucifixion of Christ and the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.
In Acts 5:15, while in the Jerusalem area, Peter and John preached to the town folks, with miracle healings and deliverance of tormenting spirits following as a witness of the New Life in Christ Jesus. People would bring their sick and infirm to lay them in the streets, in hopes that Peter’s shadow would fall on the sick and they would be healed. What faith! (Just as with Jesus and the woman who pushed through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment and received healing from her sickness.) Here we see the power of redemption and obedience as a witness of the Holy Spirit upon them. I love the story of Peter, possibly because of his rebel heart. But that same tenacity, later gave him the power and courage to preach the gospel without waiver.
Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us in unexpected, unusually, uncommon and unpredictable ways. As with Peter, he was visited in jail by an Angel of the Lord. Here we read in Acts 5:18-41, the Sadducees were jealous and full of guilt regarding Jesus, the crucifixion still fresh in their minds. Again, they plotted to silence the name of Jesus, now through casting in jail the Apostles for preaching and in turn, attempt to stop the miracles that followed his disciples. They forbid the name of Jesus to be spoken by the Apostles. Why? If we look at Acts 3:4-17, there is lame man, a known beggared by the Temple gate Beautiful, who was healed by Peter. In Vs:6 Peter said “Silver and Gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Peter then took hold of the man’s hand and raised him to his feet. What happened next is key, the man’s ankles and feet were made strong. It is the single act of “Made Strong” that caused the Sadducees and the Sanhedrin to hate and fear the evident power of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles. It is in the name of Jesus that all power exists and is made evident through.
When the Angel of the Lord visited Peter & John in jail and set them free, he told them in Vs:5:21 “Go, stand in the Temple Courts”…tell the full message of this New Life”. Knowing that this was a miracle from Jesus, the Apostles left in obedience and preached the gospel in the temple courts to the people.
When we obey the prompting of the Lord (word & deed) He will begin to orchestrate your steps to do His good pleasure. A key Vs:29- Peter, when confronted again by the Sanhedrin (who were alarmed by their escape from jail) because of not following their orders to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, Peter says to the Sanhedrin’s…“We must obey God rather than man!”
When we give testimony to the name of Jesus we evoke the power of the name of Jesus Christ and give glory to God. Peter witnessed to the people in the temple courts in Acts 3:13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.” And in Vs:18 “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that Christ would suffer.” Peter glaringly showed the truth that day to the Sanhedrin, that Jesus was the Son of God and that in their arrogance they missed what the scriptures had foretold. It almost cost Peter his life, except for the intervention of a Pharisee named Gamaliel [vs:33-39] Instead, Peter was flogged and released. The scriptures tell us that Peter continued “Day after Day”[vs:42] in the temple courts and from house to house…they never stopped teaching and preaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus is the Christ!” We stand under the protection of the same covenant.
So, it is true today, that in the name of Jesus we have redemption, salvation and healing. Praise the name of Jesus! We can have the same boldness of Peter to teach, preach and live the truth of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remain. Believe. Speak. Pray. Do these in response to God’s call and watch as the Holy Spirit directs your steps to complete His good pleasure in your life.