A Clash of Kingdoms (Acts 4:1-22)

Introduction

Things have been moving rapidly over three chapters, Peter and John empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit have been making known the name of Jesus. Moreover, they have been declaring that he is alive, and the hope the world has been looking for is to be found in his death and resurrection! As they preached the coming of God’s Kingdom, so too they showed it as they healed a man who had been lame his entire life. An act that was not about them, but the one under who’s the authority they acted – Jesus. Luke wants it to be clear to us today that in following Jesus, we must never pursue the miraculous above our Pursuit of Glorifying God and witnessing to Jesus. Everything in our lives points to the one in whom we have our living. Think about some of what Peter said in chapter three:

  • verse 12&13: “And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him.” (NLT)
  • verse 15: “You killed the author of life” (NLT)
  • verse 19: “Jesus, your appointed Messiah.”

Peter wanted it to be clear to the crowd that had gathered, and was marvelling at the healing of this man that it was about one thing – Jesus Christ! Hence he contrasted their powerlessness to the omnipotence of Jesus, the servant of the God of all their ancestors, and the author of life: by faith in His name the man was healed (3:16). We are those look not to gimmicks or gags but to Jesus. We are a people who know that true healing is found through seeing Jesus for who he is – The Lord and author of life. Then responding in the way the Gospel demands:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”
Acts 3:19-20 NIV

What must it have been to sit there and listen as Peter preached so powerfully, as he proclaimed the saving work of Jesus Christ as grounded in history, – an event that will change the world. Acts chapter four is a continuation of the events that unfolded from that sermon in the temple, where again we see Peter preaching with the power, a message that does not conform to the social, religious, or cultural expectations of the day, but instead confronts them to transform. Yet, this is not a confrontation of judgement, it is a confrontation of beauty that exposes the ugliness of the world. Peter has been captivated by something better than all the treasures of the world can offer, he has seen the source of life and now boldly confronts the death and darkness of the world with the beauty and light of Jesus.

An Overview

Acts 3-5 mark a shift in the narrative of Acts, as the gloss begins to fade and the disciples and those who have come to faith begin to understand what Jesus meant about a willingness to take our Cross, and what Paul said as he wrote:” that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10 ESV). Chapter four marks a significant moment in the movement of the book of Acts, as the for the first time the disciples are arrested. It is a moment that marks the church and her children enter into a period of profound suffering, yet, intense growth. Why? Because like love, or anything of value when it holds that value for us, then we will gladly suffer for it. Not because we enjoy pain, but because the worth of something is most know in hard times. Moreover, anything of value or merit in life requires some sort of pain, endurance on our behalf: Marathons, Phd’s, new business ventures – for something to succeed it requires passion (suffering). Peter, John and the disciples had found life! (The essence of the Gospel is that life is found in Jesus). Those who they had been preached to have glimpsed something of the beauty and wonder of Jesus, and life in him. Now they will prove it by a willingness to suffer for it.

In 3:11, we see that Peter is preaching in Solomons Colonnade (Poriticco), one of the outer parts of the temple. An act that was in itself in no way illegal or dangerous. It was not where the preaching occurred, or even the fact that they where teaching. It was what they were preaching that caused offence. Thus, as chapter four begins Peter and John are approached by a delegation of different religious leaders: priests, the captain of the temple guard (police), and some Sadducees. The word used for approach implies that there are harmful intentions behind this coming. These are not people interested in knowing more about the message being shared, they are people threatened by it, and determined to stop it. We will consider this passage in its three stages using three words:

  1. Offence (The Arrest: 4:1-7)
  2. Defence (Peter Makes his Case: 4:8-12)
  3. Tense (A Clashing of Authorities: 4:13-22)

1. Offence – Peter and John are Arrested (1-7)

I wonder what would really offend you, to the point where you would act against it? We all know those people who are offended by anything. They live in a preputial state of the offence, hurt and anger at the things they face in the world, or what has been done to them. Today especially there seems to be much offence in our culture and no one is really that sure what to do with it. Peter and John have seemingly offended the crowd in Chapter three with the strength and conviction of their preaching. Rather than taking some of the Glory of the healing onto themselves, they pointed clearly to Jesus and made sure the people knew of what they and their leaders had done to him (Repent!):

You murdered him… You murdered the author of life.

Yet, the hideousness of their act was actually good news, for he who is life cannot be restrained by death. Thus, in dying, God was acting to bring life to all who would “have faith in the name of Jesus.”

Like people, churches and culture, we have become numb to the offence of the Cross. It has become a piece of Jewellery around our necks, a trinket in our minds… rather than an instrument of death and torture used to keep people in check. Yet, right here in verses 1-4, we must stop and reconsider what Peter and John are saying, and the context in which they are saying it. Think about all they have claimed so far. That they did not heal the man by their own godliness, no, he was healed by faith in the name of Jesus Christ. One whom the state had executed, but, he was not dead! No! He was alive, because actually his death was all part of God’s redemptive plan, and in fact, the man they followed was God. Thus, the cry of response to the crowd: “Repent, and have faith in Jesus Christ.” This is an offensive message, one that has never been heard before. It is offensive in so many different levels:

  • It calls into question the actions of the state and people and invites them to answer to a higher authority.
  • It proclaims that God actually used the most hideous form of death the state could come up with to bring life and hope.
  • It is based on resurrection. Moreover, it teaches the renewal of all people who have faith, centred in the transformation of one man—the God-man.

This is the implication of verse 2: the authorities are not offended by the healing of a man: “you want to heal a man, that is fine go ahead….” No, they are offended by the message that accompanied the healing. Specifically: they were disturbed by the teaching that through Jesus, the dead would live. I think we become so detached from the Gospel that we forget just how, unlike the world around us it is. Yet, right here we are reminded how it is offensive to the culture around us, it is why Paul could write: “So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.” (1 Corn. 1:23 NLT). He was once one of those Jews would be deeply offended by the explicit nature of the hope of the Gospel, he was so annoyed that he set out to ride Israel of this teaching until he meets God and found hope in that which offended him. Thus, there is only one course of action in this late evening in Jerusalem they must seize the men proclaiming. Now, the apostles have become like the Master: in that in the eyes of the state, they are criminals.

What is Good News to You?

I wonder what Gospel you have believed? I wonder is it the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the confronts the powers of this world and demands a reaction. That proclaims that power, life, and identity are found not in any schemes of this world but in the death of the Son of God on the Cross? He who is dying defeated death! Let us consider that which we have believed? Let us make sure it is indeed the good news of Jesus.

The Gospel is and should be offensive to the world, that is why Paul said “so when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.” not just because it offends a specific worldview, or the Sadducees (those who did not believe in a resurrection). It hurts both Jews and gentiles! Yet, Paul did not finish his sentence there, because he added: “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corin 1:24). The Gospel may be offensive to those who are held captive by the powers of this world, but when it is genuinely grasped, it deals with our biggest sickness – sin! We have hope in the resurrection of Jesus because of what is imputed onto us through faith – righteousness! In his perfect life, death and resurrection, Jesus made it possible for those who were called by God to know a relationship with God.

His death paid the price for our sin, his perfect obedience fulfilled the requirements of the law. Thus, through faith, we have imputed on to us perfect righteousness, and the assurance of the Holy Spirit. Who works in us (the power of God), to make us more into the image of the Son (the Wisdom of God). The Gospel is offensive, but it is also good news, and that is why in verse 4 we see people responding to it, as the church increases to some 5000 me, and no doubt thousands of other women and children.

The Infinite Value of the Gospel

This is the Gospel of Christ, that life is found in his death and rising, that we all stand equal and in sin, and that our only hope is not in any structure or system of the world but in the name of Jesus. Would the Gospel you believe in its duality offend those around you and offer hope to the sinner, or is it so palatable, so stripped of the supernatural, wonder and work of God that it is not good news at all? I wonder what value it holds to you? We see its infinite value in the ministry of Peter in John in these moments, as they fiercely proclaim it, in the hope that others too will know the worth of Jesus and give their lives to him. They became criminals for the sake of the Cross, and gladly received the scorn and shame of the world to make the beauty of Jesus known.

Peter and John find themselves in Prison for the night, the religious leaders find themselves trying to figure out what to do with a movement they thought they had crucified. We must also notice, the subtle positioning in verse four: As Luke presents the Apostles being arrested, he also reminds us that the Gospel is bearing fruit in the lives of many. His point? Even as the opponents of Kingdom think they have made some advance, God is at work. One commentator put it:

“God’s providence on full display here. The temple rulers’ attempt to quash the message of Jesus by arresting Peter and John merely provides another platform to promulgate the good news.” 1

2. Defence – Peter Makes His Case (4:8-12)

The next morning, the religious authorities confront Peter and John: “By what power or what name did you do this?” (v7). It is a stupid question because as Peter preached, he made it clear the name to which he served! In the power of the Holy, Spirit Peter takes advantage of the mundane question to begin ministering again.

It’s the Same Authority as Yesterday! (8-12)

What we see here is a condensed summary of what Peter had preached to the gathered crowd the day before. In essence, he makes three points:

  1. The man did not heal himself, Jesus Christ was responsible for the act of Mercy.
  2. Jesus is alive! (10) He was the one that they had been waiting for and rejected (11).
  3. Jesus stands unique in history. Salvation comes through his name alone. There is no other way to stand in the presence of God, then through faith in his name. To Reject Jesus is to reject God.

One thing I find fascinating in Peters speech is that he refers to the religious leaders as Builders. Quoting from Psalm 118:22 he informs them that in their building of a righteous house, they rejected the stone they had been seeking. Yet, in their rejection, the stone found exultation as he became the cornerstone/capstone of Gods new building – the church.

Peters defences are in fact the same of his offence. He acts under the authority of Jesus Christ, and he will continue to operate regardless of how any earthly-authorities might react. His offence is the proclamation of Jesus Christ crucified, and his defence is the resurrection of Jesus. Why? Because this is his identity and confidence. Peter has grasped the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that he is sovereign over all things and thus he knows that in Living out The Great Commission God will honour, project, and work all things to his purpose even when they seem to be going in opposite directions.

Peter’s defence is based on a real knowledge of who Jesus is, not just seeing him as a saviour, or a ticket to heaven but grasping him as the Lord of all, and the implication of his sovereign rule over every aspect of human life. The work of Christ not only saves but gives the confidence to live. Have we as disciples, as a church grasped the fullness of Jesus and what it means for our living? Are we willing to proclaim the good news of Jesus in word and deed no matter the consequences in the confidence of Jesus?

3. A Clash of Authorities (4:13-22)

One thing that is being made clear to us this evening is both the fullness of the work of Jesus and the fullness of the response it requires. To truly have grasped the wonder of the Gospel means that we are consumed by Jesus. It means that we have understood that salvation is more than a free ticket to heaven, a means of dealing with our sin, or some get out of jail free card. To have faith in the name of Jesus mean to recognise him as the author of life. To recognise him as the author of life means that we grasp that he is the way we are meant to live now, it is not a life to come. It is life now. Thus, his life becomes our model for life, and his way becomes our way. It is not that we are perfect in obedience, but that in the power of the Holy Spirit, we gladly choose to follow Jesus, live like him and for him to the Glory of God. To Grasp the beauty of the Gospel and the wonder of the Cross means we acknowledge that while Grace is free, it demands all of us in response. Thus, Jesus is not just our salvation, no, he is our hope, confidence, way and identity. He is everything, and through Grace, we receive a gift that we realise requires all of us to appreciate it. Christianity is not just a part of our life if we are indeed followers of Jesus (the author of life) He becomes our life. It is all our nothing. To believe in the name of Jesus is to identify with him, to become a citizen of his Kingdom and a child of God through adoption. It is all or nothing. If it is all, then there will be evidence of that in the life of the believer – fruit. In Summary, our true identity will show.

The Visibility of Christian Identity (13-15)

When you belong to Jesus, not only does it show, it changes you as the Holy Spirit works within you to equip you for the walk and make you more into the glorious image of the Son. Just a short time before under the threat of arrest, the disciples abandoned Jesus in a desperate bid for their own survival; Peter denied him three times in the hope to live. Now, hereunder arrest, standing before the powers of his land, and those responsible for the death of his teacher and friend, there is no doubt about how Peter chooses to identify with! This is a man who not only belongs to Jesus but has obliviously been in his presence.

Perhaps they hoped a night in the cell might calm them down, might dampen the fire of this teaching about Jesus. Who knows, but it seems that whatever they were expecting Peter to say in response to their question in verse 7, they where not expecting his answer, and his demeanour. They NIV identifies it as courage in verse 13, and the ESV boldness, both add to the image we should have of Peter at this moment: the original word means literally “to have courage or boldness in the face of danger or opposition.” 2 What is the difference between now and those moments before the Cross? The Holy Spirit! They have received the helper from God, who is now obliviously at work in them in the work of God for the Glory of God.

“Peter speaks boldly, but this boldness is not the result of character refinement or moral formation. Peter has not become the great man who stares down his enemies with epic courage, the kind that creates an odyssey or a heroic tale. Indeed there is no such thing as individual boldness for the followers of Jesus. Of course each disciple can and must be bold, but their boldness is always a together boldness, a joined boldness, a boldness born of intimacy. The modern lie of individualism is most powerful when we imagine that boldness comes from within. It does not. It comes from without, from the Spirit of God.”3

This Spirit empowered Peter obliviously confronts the authorities because Luke notes as he writes how they recognised that he was now seemingly performing above his station. His confidence and teachings of Jesus, his quoting of Scriptures was all the more startling because he and John were “unschooled, ordinary men.” (13) Yet, more profoundly, the authorities also took note that these men had been with Jesus. No matter how they might want to act to deal with this threat, they know they still cannon act because Peter had evidence to corroborate what he had just taught – the man standing there. God through Peter and John have only performed a miraculous act of Mercy in response to the man’s faith in the name of Jesus, the crowd are delighted, and the authorities are limited in what they can do. Hence they do what bureaucrats do best! They form a committee and seek out more time to make a decision. For one more moment, the forces opposed to God scheme and plot.

The Tension of our Kingdom Citizenship(16-20)

The start of verse 16 perfect sums up what must have seemed like an impossible discussion: “What are we going to do with these men.” Where followers of Jesus within the context of the church are truly living out their faith. Where the Gospel is preached (and Peter has preached it), and Mercy is acted within the context of the mission of God, the world should be confronted. The authorities should struggle to know what to do with us because, in us, they see something that startles them, something beyond this world.

Here in Jerusalem while they see something of Jesus in Peter and John, they still have not seen Jesus as he is – Their Lord. Thus, in the scheming, they realise that they cannot act against these two apostles, not because it would be an act against God but because they fear the crowd. Yet, they think that they still have some sway over these men. They think that the basis for their power and authority is enough to intimidate Peter and John from furthering their work. It is the clash of two kingdoms: The Kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of light. The religious authorities come up with a plan to stop “this thing from spreading any further among the people” by instructing Peter and John to no longer speak the name of Jesus. In essence, they can believe what they want about Jesus, his death and resurrection, even his Lordship over the universe. They can believe it! As long as they think it in private and keep their beliefs to themselves.

In the safety of their committee, they seem to have come up with a plan that they think will keep everyone happy, Peter and John can go on, but as they go, they must keep their belief about Jesus to themself, as they are commanded not to speak or teach at all the name of Jesus. It is a startling moment, where the state authorities believe they have a right over the servant’s of God, and still think that they hold some sway over the men. On the face of it, it does not seem that bad… believe what you want, just keep it to yourself. Yet, as a command, it is an affront to the Lordship of Jesus and the call of God on these men’s lives. It is the call to the decommission!

I wonder what you would do? Hoe would you react if the powers of this earth told you that you could no longer speak the name of Jesus? Let us face the truth that this is an explicit reality today, we live in a perpetually offended world, and one that today more than ever is offended by our claims about who Jesus was, what he claimed about himself and what he demanded in response. If you want to talk about Jesus, the wise teacher – that is fine; even you can talk about living the Jesus life – good. But to claim Christ as Lord, and then infer his morality as the way to live in response to that – that is fine, as long as you keep it to yourself. This is the tension of our dual citizenship: that we are Citizens of another world, and this world is not our home: Yet, we acknowledge that we live in this world. We have dual citizenship of now, and the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet duality does not necessitate equality. In response to the decommission request from the principalities of this world, Peter makes his loyalty clear:

“Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”4

This is a man who will no longer abandon his call, as the Spirit of God works in him. Peter display’s integrity in his witness as he makes clear where he faithful citizenship lies – in the Kingdom of Christ. Peter’s response is a radical proposition, let us be clear. The Sandrahadrian though they where the servants of God, yet they are now confronted by two uneducated fishermen who are saying that they must speak to be loyal to the command of God on their lives (an inference that again the disciples consider Jesus as Equal to Yahweh). They must speak of the name of Jesus and the things they have seen.

We see two things that we must take from this moment: Tension and integrity. As followers of Jesus, we will face tension as we walk with him, we cannot be surprised because he said we would. Yet, we are often surprised, frustrated or fearful when it comes our way. Dangerous teachings might even lead us to believe that such opposition is, in fact, a sign that we are walking the wrong way. The tension of our citizenship is a sign of right walking, if we follow Jesus as we never face opposition or the frustrations of the world then we must ask ourselves what Gospel have we believed, and are we indeed disciples. As we live for Jesus and make Him known in word and deed, it will bring about change and opposition – this is the reality of the Great commission. Thus, the question then is what we must do in such situations? The answer is Gospel integrity. Peter and John displayed it here, and we too when we face opposition must continue to proclaim Jesus by being loyal to him and trusting that he is working for his Glory and our good even when the opposite seems true. Integrity in our witness is a vital part of it. Consider the claim of the Gospel: That Jesus is the way to know eternal life, yet, more profoundly, we proclaim that in him, we find the reason for living and the way to live. Thus, when the world challenges us, and we chose to compromise Gospel in word or deed, rather than stand firm and confront the darkness. By our actions or inaction, we proclaim that something other than Jesus is worth more to us, or has a greater authority over us. The tension of our citizenship is not an easy one, yet, in the Spirit we must stand firm for the cause of the Gospel. Our integrity in witness will further the work and witness of Jesus. Let us not never consider the cost of compromise as one worth paying.

There is only one King (21-22)

The foundation of our living for Jesus is that in him, we have found all that we need, and there is nothing in this world that can add to his beauty, sufficiency or wonder. Contra, there is nothing in this world that can take from it. It is why Paul was able to write: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It is why each of the Apostles remained true to their call and mission – displayed Gospel integrity – because, in the person and work of Jesus, they had all they ever needed and more! Yet, this does not mean it will be easy, as a compromise has a cost, so does integrity; the difference is who pays it. Peter and John stand firm and faced further threats, and when we stand firm in Jesus for his cause the Kingdom around us will no doubt try other ways to subvert our work, nevertheless we remain firm and steadfast because in the worlds of that beautiful old hymn: “We have an anchor that keeps the soul… steadfast and sure as the billows roll!” When we truly see Jesus for who he is, then we will stand firm for him when push comes to shove because we stand not in our own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Spirit-empowered faithful witness will display to the world that there is only one King to fear and reverence and his name is Jesus. He is the one who rules over all things, and regardless of the proclamations of the rulers of this world, he is the one we must heed at all times.

As We Go From Here

As we dwell on this passage and consider what it teaches about God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we think about what acts 4:1-22 teaches us about our living with them in a relationship; then our life for them as we seek to live out the Great Commission and our Kingdom Mandate. I think are essential to consider, dwell on and take home for our context today.

1: Discerning and Seeking The Gospel

In Chapters three and four, we see the basis of our identity in Jesus Christ. Peter and John proclaim the good news of Jesus and call people to repentance in response to it. Their message is not based on a miraculous deed they have performed: “Look at me and what I did, thus believe in what I believe.” They constantly point to the life, work, death and resurrection of Jesus.

One of the great things about this pandemic has been the amount of great material I have enjoyed about this pandemic is the amount of good material that is available online. Yet, let’s face it; there is also some less than ideal teaching and preaching. Here we have the basis by which to judge all teaching that we every listen to. In the abstract sense: The message points away from the preacher to the fullness of Jesus, and in the practical sense: the sermon is about Jesus, and calls for response to the Lordship of Jesus. Let us be a people who continually seek and discern what we are listening to, then under the guidance of the Holy Spirit be willing to act if what is being taught is not the good news of Jesus. As Beggs put it “Unfortunately, preachers who distort God’s Word are all too common today. Sometimes this springs from a sincere desire to soften hard hearts, but hearts aren’t changed by compromise.”

“A man who first tried to guess ‘what the public wants,’ and then preached that as Christianity because the public wants it, would be a pretty mixture of fool and knave.” ― C.S. Lewis”

2: Changed by the Holy Spirit – Fruit.

Christian history is littered with stories of those who would not compromise for the cause of Christ. We call them Martyrs, and rightly they have a place in our identity and encouragement. We follow the way of one who would not compromise – Jesus. I love to trace the life of Peter and the work of God in him because what we see is the reality of most journey of discipleship – slow and steady progress. When we come to Jesus, abide with him and live for his cause through the work of the Holy Spirit, there will be evidence of it in our lives. Acts 4:1-22 shows glimpses of that fruit in the life of Peter and John, no longer were they fearful of the forces of this world, and they proclaimed in a way the educated of their time could not understand. They lived for Jesus, and their living for Jesus was evident in their lives. The process of sanctification was evident in their lives, and if we are truly following Jesus, then it should be evident in our lives today. What fruit does our living display?

3: The Primacy of our Kingdom Citizenship

Peter and John displayed where their loyalties lied – Jesus. Today we are living in a time of profound change where the foundations of society seem suddenly weaker, and all the things that we used to look too have disappeared. Additionally, our neighbours, family and friends are perhaps asking questions they have never had to consider before. Thus, today even with all that is going on, we must remember that we first belong to another world, and with that belonging comes commissioning. What are the opportunities that Covid provides for us in terms of the Great Commission? In the days, weeks, and months ahead emboldened by the Spirit we must discern, and then seize every opportunity for the cause of Christ. This is the mandate of our citizenship. We live in all times and at all times for the cause of Christ to the Glory of God. There work of the great commission is not optional, nor is its duty. It is a service of delight in response to who God is because in him we have all we need and we want others to know that satisfaction! If we have grasped the wonder of who Jesus is, and what it means to live with him; then we will want to live for him and make him known. So let us live out our Kingdom citizenship no matter the cost, context or challenge as we look to the example of Peter and John. Then, in the same way, let us proclaim, act out and stand firm in the good news of Jesus.

4: God is Always at Work

Over the last three months of lockdown, our lives have been restricted and altered by something we cannot see, nor yet understand. We have felt helpless as chaos abounds. The threats we are facing seem impossible to comprehend, and the future less unknown that at any times in our lives. Yet, Acts 4:1-22 closes with a profound reminder and assurance: we worship a God who is in complete control. He has his supreme sovereignty over all things. It is so subtle in this passage that we might miss it. Yet, let’s consider verse 22 one more time:

“For this sign of healing had been performed on a man over forty years old.” (CSB)

When I read this, I find myself asking “What does his age matter?” The answer is nothing profound or complicated. No, it is a simple statement of reality: as Luke concludes this section is he is reminding the reader of the impossibility of this situation. This man has known nothing else his entire life, yet God was at work throughout his entire life. Then an impossible situation was made possible because God was at work. God is always at work in ways that the world does not understand. This is our story as we live for him that he will work in all situations for his cause and purpose – even when we see no sign of it. The foundation of our confidence today and every day, whether we are in a pandemic or enjoying a good season of life is the Sovereign rule of a good God. After all, we are people who proclaim the hope of the Cross. Let us trust God, and then point to God as he works. This is our hope, cause and call!

Today whoever we are, whatever we face let us point to Jesus. The healing in verse 22 is summarised differently depending on your translation, the older NIV says the man was “miraculously healed.” The ESV and CSB gather it more precisely as they summarise: “For this sign of healing.” This is our challenge today that God acts for cause and purpose. The healing of the lame man was a sign in that it pointed to something greater than itself. It was a great and miraculous act, there can be no doubt about it. If we witnessed it tomorrow in the street we would marvel at the sight, we might share about it on social media and tell its story. Yet, Luke is making clear that the Greatness is not found in that act of healing, it is put a glimpse of something greater – Jesus. The healing was a sign that pointed to the awesome power of Jesus, who’s the greatest act of healing is not the healing of illness, no ultimately it is his gift of life through faith when he deals with the curse of sin. All things of the Kingdom must point to the King. Our challenge today is that as we live for Jesus, may we too be a sign to his the ultimate gift of impossibility form God through Jesus – life with Him.

  1. Chung-Kim, E., Hains, T. R., George, T., Manetsch, S. M., & Ellis, B. (Eds.). (2014). Acts: New Testament (Vol. VI, p. 48). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.”
  2. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 306). New York: United Bible Societies.
  3. Jennings, W. J. (2017). Acts. (A. P. Pauw & W. C. Placher, Eds.) (First edition, pp. 48–49). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
  4. The Holy Bible: New International Version—Anglicised. (1984). (electronic edition., Ac 4:19–20). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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