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Acts chapter 3 is a wonderful look at the power of Jesus' name and faith in Jesus as Peter heals a lame man. I love verse 6: "But Peter said, "I don't have any money for you. But I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!"" Below is a painting of this scene by the Italian painter Masolino da Panicale from the early 15th century:
It is awesome to see how Peter follows up this healing with preaching at Solomon's Porch! He sees an opportunity to let others know about Jesus and he does not let this opportunity pass him by. How often in your life do you come across opportunities to let others know about Jesus? How often do you move forward with that opportunity? Or how often do you let that opportunity pass you by? Below is a photo of a model of Solomon's Porch, where Peter was preaching, in Jerusalem. The 162 Corinthian columns were up to 100 feet tall. The porch extended some 800 feet.
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "A Lame Excuse for Preaching the Gospel" is at this link. (again, quite a creative title here from Bob... :)
In our Acts readings today, I found it very interesting that Peter and John found themselves before the same 70 member Sanhedrin that Jesus found himself before when he was sentenced to death. Peter and John avoided death in this case, and Jesus' name and power was proclaimed before the high council in a powerful way. Caiaphas you'll recall from John 18:14: "Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people." Well, the Spirit of Jesus was once again before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin through the boldness of Peter and John!
I love reading about the early church praying and sharing their possessions after Peter and John were released! Have you ever prayed a prayer that was anything like verses 29 & 30? Wow... "And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching. Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Think we could learn something about prayer from this early church community in Acts 4? How often do you pray with a group of people outside of a regular church service? Think this would be a powerful thing to do? Below is a beautiful fresco on the wall in a small church in the French Alps of "The Community in Prayer" from Acts 4 today:
Bible.org's commentary on our Acts readings today titled "Truth or Consequences" is at this link.
Today in Acts 5 we continue to read about the early church. It's important for us to note that Ananias and Sapphira's sin was that they acted as if they were giving 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their land to the church - when in fact they weren't - so that they would be glorified for this very generous act. The sin wasn't what percentage they were or weren't giving - but that they were acting as if they were giving 100%, which was a lie. In verse 3 we read – “Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”” One thing of note from this verse is that Satan was active in the hearts of men and women in the early church. After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, Satan was still on the loose. Do you believe Satan is still on the loose today tempting the hearts of men and women? Do you pray daily for God to “lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil?” Do you think this should be a daily prayer? (maybe not in these words exactly, but they are from the Lord’s Prayer, so not a bad choice of words to pray...) Below is a painting of "The Death of Ananias" by the Italian artist Raphael from the year 1515:
I love verse 29 in today's readings, when the apostles are yet again before the Sanhedrin: "But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than human authority." How powerful of a statement is this! And how often in our lives do we truly practice this? Do you obey God rather than human authority? Consistently? Verse 41 brought tears to my eyes: "The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus." This is an incredible thing to consider! The apostles rejoiced that they were given 39 lashes - this is no joke as we all know - because they were proclaiming Jesus. They rejoiced that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus! This is something that should definitely bring tears to all of our eyes. Let us pray that God also counts us worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus!
Worship God: Today's readings in Acts reminds me of the Robbie Seay Band song "Song of Hope:"
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Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Acts 3:6 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray in that you treasure the name of Jesus above all else in this world. Pray that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Pray all things in Jesus' holy name.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
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