Second Sunday of Easter
Article for April 16, 2023
Acts 5:27–28 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
Holy men or hateful men, that is the question, but before you judge them…take the plank out of your own eye. Yes, these were men of power, power corrupts, and these men were corrupted by the power given to them by God and the chosen people of God.
Nothing new here, nothing new under the sun as Solomon puts it. Power and money; man’s curse, man’s blindness, man’s downfall. And like most who fall into an addiction, one cannot see the fault before them as it opens to swallow them up.
We lure ourselves into the fantasy of a worldly haven, not knowing we are losing our God given gift of heaven. But what once was lost now, is found as the song goes. However, it was not man who found the lost, it was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came for the lost and finds us every day. Thanks be to God who gave us His son for that reason; find the lost and introduce them to salvation.
But here we are the court is worried that it will be accused of the murder of this Jesus Christ. They warned the apostles not to use the name of Jesus a time before. But the apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ did not listen to the orders given to them by priestly men. True followers will follow without a care for the consequences, good or bad.
Acts 5:29–30 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
We must obey God first, and then obey man if what they tell you to do does not go against God’s law. If our leaders understood this, they would lead with the word of God. As it stands now and has stood since the fall of Adam, leaders lead with the word of man’s sinful desires.
The apostles were and still are true followers of Jesus Christ. The apostles are prime examples of true faith you might even say courageous faith. Not only did they follow Jesus Christ, but they continued to follow Jesus even though Jesus was crucified. Note that most of the apostles followed Jesus to their own punishment of death.
Here the apostles claim their faith in the midst of those who were to teach faith but had sold out to power over God’s own chosen people. Mankind is not able to govern God’s word without the help and guidance of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. These who sought to kill the apostles have not listened to the Holy Spirit.
When mankind starts to think they are the expert of God’s word is when they should pray to God and then study God’s word again and again. When mankind bends God’s word to achieve their own agenda, that is when mankind should ask God to forgive them and help them to repent and lead them to the right path.
If we could be so bold as to actually confirm the court’s fears. The boldness of the apostles said, yes, indeed we accuse you of killing our Lord Jesus, our Savior. But let us be clear on the death of Jesus Christ our savior. Those who hung him on the cross and those who shouted crucify Him, are the shadows of our own sin as well. Remember Jesus took all sin to the cross and died for those who have, those who did, and those who will sin.
Acts 5:31–32 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
The apostles were there when they nailed Jesus to the cross. They saw with their own eyes the pain, suffering and humility that this Jesus Christ suffered on the cross of our shame. The apostles were witnesses of the crucifixion and death of our Savior, and they were witnesses of the resurrection of our Lord and King, Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit also a witness of everything that transpired between the sins of man and the death of Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit waiting for His moment in our time when Jesus would give Him out to those who follow Christ. The Holy Spirit strengthened the faith of the apostles and all who follow the Way. It is time that we who follow our Christ to listen to the Holy Spirit.
Acts 5: 38–39a 35And he (Gamaliel) said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men… 38So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
Gamaliel a teacher of God’s law, wise and well admired by the people and the priests brought caution to the foul wind of the council who wanted to kill the followers of this Jesus Christ. Something we should all do… Stop, look at the past, look at what you know from God before you make a grave mistake.
Should this be of “man” it will fail! Should this be of “God” there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. God is the true power and the true riches. God’s Will, will be done period, and no one can stop it. If the evil prince of the world cannot stop God, then believe no one can stop God. And why should we want to stop God; He loves us more than we realize.
1 Peter 1:8–9 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Jesus is our savior, tried and true so much that death could not keep a grip on Him. We have a living savior, and many witnessed His death, and many witnessed the resurrected Jesus Christ. We have a true living God to believe in, just remember this, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not parish. God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17) God wants to save us! Amen.
Written by Pastor Curtis A. May