Friday 05 May 2017

Bible Book:

“For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it.” (v. 16)

Acts 4:13-22 Friday 5 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm146


The Sanhedrin court, a gathering of the great andgood of Sadducees and Pharisees, must judge what Peter and Johnhave laid before them and then decide what to do. Timelessquestions will inform any subsequent justice:

  • What is the credibility of the witnesses?
  • What is the integrity of the evidence?
  • What might constitute a just decision?

The key witnesses are Peter and John, who areregarded as "uneducated and ordinary men" (v. 13). The inference inLuke's words is that these men are likely to lack credibility,simply because they did not have an academic background, at leastnot in the ways of the law. This goes to the heart of a weakness inmany societies, that of elevating academic learning above othertypes of education, and equating academic qualifications withintelligence and/or wisdom. For Peter and John, for all those wholove their Lord, real wisdom is found in the age-old truths ofJesus.

So turning to the evidence, the Sanhedrin could donothing but agree that a 40 year-old man who had been crippled frombirth was standing, healed, in front of them. Difficult to arguewith that! So the discussion turns to how the man might have beenhealed when "it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that anotable sign has been done through them [Peter and John]; [and] wecannot deny it" (v. 16). From the biblical account there seems tobe no alternative suggestion as to what happened, so the Sanhedrinare forced to admit that it was a miracle.

So what was the court's decision? Peter and Johnwere free to go, without a charge. They could not be punishedbecause the crowds ("all of them" (v. 21)) were praising God forthe miracle. It is probably worth mentioning that many in Jerusalemmust have remembered the preacher from Galilee, crucified recently,who also did many miracles in and around the city. Those thatdidn't remember were certainly being reminded by Peter and John!Was the Sanhedrin's decision based on the pragmatism of not causingunrest in the city and incurring the wrath of the Romans; or wasthe decision based on a reluctant, even grudging, awareness thatJesus was indeed very special?

Sometimes events work out unexpectedly for good,even in our own lives. When these things happen, do we recogniseGod in the situation, just as those disciples eventually did on theEmmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35). It is important to reflect onevents, thank God, and use opportunities wisely.

To Ponder

  • Truth and justice are key principles in reconciliation(international, national, local, family), but also forgiveness.Which, for you, is the most important starting point?
  • Is there anything in your life in need of reconciliation? Asyou ponder on what others might contribute to this process, whatmight you offer?
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