23 April 2015Acts 4:23-31
“When they heard it they raised their voices together to God” (v. 24)
Psalm: Psalm 143
Today's passage is the last episode in this story that began with the miraculous healing of a 40-year-old crippled beggar and has involved Peter and John having to defend themselves before the Sanhedrin for their part in the healing (Acts 3:1 - 4:22). At risk of punishment by the Sanhedrin they took the opportunity to witness boldly about Jesus' death and resurrection and about the power of Jesus' name to heal.
Having been released from custody by the Council, Peter and John went straight to join their fellow believers. Having recounted all that had happened to them they, and the fellowship, "raised their voices together"and praised God and prayed.
They prayed using Psalm 2:1-2, which they saw as being fulfilled by these recent events. They praised God for God's own creative power and for the fact that God had spoken through the Holy Spirit in the past about these days through which they were now living. They saw that God had a plan and was in control. Believing this encouraged them in their situation.
It is noticeable that in their prayer they do not pray for God to deliver them from being arrested and tried again. Neither do they pray for punishment for those who are against Jesus or who may harm them. What they pray for is boldness to carry on speaking and healing in Jesus' name. Their whole concern was for the continued spread of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God answered their pray with by sending the Holy Spirit, so much so that the whole room shook. The company was filled by the Spirit which gives them the boldness that they sought.
- When times are difficult do you find the church community to be a place of welcome and support? What support do you need? And as part of the church community what welcome and support can you offer?
- When you come to pray do you always remember to praise God as well as to ask for help and guidance? When we do praise God do we do so mainly for what God has done or for who God is?
- How has prayer helped you to face difficult circumstances?
Bible notes' author: The Revd Ros Watson