By Gladys McElmore
Explore the book of Acts for the works of Peter and John as they boldly proclaimed the gospel while they faced severe persecutions. Imagine the courage and convictions that led them to become strong witnesses for Jesus Christ! The lame or crippled beggar was over 40 years old at that time (Acts 4), but was healed and stood with Peter and John before a crowd of worshipers. In Chapter 4, we can read additional elaborations of activities with more people being involved such as the temple priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees. Those last three groups became somewhat annoyed with the teachings of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection of the dead.
Social ranks of hierarchy divided responsibilities and privileges. Each group was troubled by Peter’s messages of Jesus as the Messiah and that the “Author of Life” was murdered! With vain plots and serious threats including being forbidden to use the name of Jesus or to teach in His name created dangerous situations for Peter, John and their services and the Sadducees, without doubt, considered themselves superior since they were supposedly well learned with social status. They had no interest in a Messiah who appeared from an unknown family. God chose Mary and Joseph to create a family for Jesus, but this was not man’s plan for a king.
Acts 4:4 tells us that the religious movement grew by leaps and bounds with thousands of believers! God can use anyone He chooses to accomplish His goals. Civil arrest was no hindrance to Peter and John because God was with them (Acts 4:5-12). Between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the laws were interpreted. We can easily understand Peter and John’s position when they were questioned about the instant healing of the lame man and by what power had they healed or under what power had they healed or under what priestly authority were they empowered!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.