Scripture

Acts 4:23-37

The Believers Pray

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.’

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Reflection

The early followers believed and proclaimed that the major religious and governmental powers had taken their “best shot” at Jesus and failed. After all, they had tried to kill him and discredited his holiness.  For Jesus’ followers, however, their new power was all the evidence they needed that Jesus was who the prophets, the angels, indeed all creation said he was.  This was all the evidence they needed.  Herod and Pontius Pilate, Jews and Gentiles had taken their best shot and failed. Indeed their failure was evidence of God’s success.

Sometimes, the world, life may take their “best shot” to defeat us, to discourage us, or to defeat the church.  But God has won.  God will win.  He arose and he is living.  Jesus’ resurrection is the proof.  If God has done this, no power can resist, even the gates of hell.

The faith we hold may seem to be losing in this chaotic, broken world, but God will prevail.  We can prevail against all that comes! Death could not stop Him.  Kings and kingdoms could not deny him.  The trials and tribulations of life cannot overcome Him.  “He arose! Jesus Christ is risen!”

One of the oldest titles for those who followed Jesus was “resurrected person”.  You are a resurrected person.  You are raised from the fear of death, heartaches, the unfair blows of life.  Test yourself today.  Are you living as a resurrected person?

Prayer

Dear God, you have raised Jesus from the grave. You have raised me from the grave of despair, defeat and hopelessness.  May I live today as a resurrected person.  In Christ’s name, Amen.