Blog for Day 298--"Lying to God" Acts 3:1 - 5:16
October 25, 2021, 12:36 PM

Day 298 “Lying to God” Acts 3 – 5

Peter is on FIRE! Can you believe this is the same waffley man who questioned Jesus, and who questioned Jesus’s path to crucifixion? The Holy Spirit has done a mighty work in our friend. Note also that he travels with John, who wrote the gospel of John and an additional four books of the New Testament. It makes me laugh to read the heading on p. 1283 of our Study Bible “The Believers Pray for Boldness.” Seriously?!? Clearly the flames of fire that had appeared above the heads of the disciples are now firmly ablaze in their hearts.

Notice the consistency of the message that Peter preaches to everyone, and note also that the way Peter’s witness and power through Christ becomes clear is through the healing of a crippled man. We need to pay attention to this continuation of the ministry of Jesus in Peter’s life, and the continual message of reaching out to the lost, the lonely and left out. And following the theme of John’s gospel, Peter and John have become literal signposts, pointing the way to Jesus Christ in everything they do.

I want to point out a phrase that sticks with me in Peter’s talk at Solomon’s Portico (a fancy name for a porch at the Temple where people gathered to have discussions). Peter first of all accuses them of murder—yikes!!—but he also says “And now friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your rulers,” (3: 17). We sometimes think that ignorance is an excuse for our behaviors, as in “I had no idea she was so sensitive!” or “Well, no one else was offended!” But I am mindful of this idea on a much smaller scale than the death of Jesus every time we say our prayer of Confession in the church:

“Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.”

No, it’s not the same as ignorance, but I always think about the mindless ways that I travel around God’s world, crashing into people like a bull in a china shop spiritually and emotionally…ok, sometimes literally too. The things that are “undone” remind me that I, too, am ignorant about what my actions and my words say about Jesus in the world. My judgment of others, my casual words that may cause wounds in others, my unconscious decisions not to be a healing person in certain circumstances where healing is desperately needed.

But immediately we see the same response from the ‘powers that be’ to these signs pointing to Jesus. Peter and John are called before some very familiar people: the Sadducees, Annas,  Caiaphus, rulers, elders and scribes who have already fought against Jesus and his reign, and who think they have won…until these apostles come along, healing and preaching and converting people once again in Jesus’ name. Peter and John are arrested, and Peter gives an offensive (not as in ‘to offend’ but as in the sports idea of striking first and hardest in a conflict) speech to the gathered people that stuns me with its boldness and clarity. I want to be more like Peter! And yet I don’t, if I am honest. To speak the name of Jesus with so much boldness was hard then and it seems almost impossible now.

Quick and true story—I was at the bedside of a dying woman who was surrounded by her children. When she saw me, her eyes got very wide, and she became agitated. “They don’t know, Mother Laurie, my children don’t know that Jesus is their savior! We have to tell them!” It was a difficult place to be because the children said to me “She’s just rambling and she’s out of her mind,” and I knew that she was being very, very clear with me and with them. I was formally banned from the room after that. Now, in fairness, if they thought I was agitating her, it was completely appropriate to maintain her peace of mind at the end of her life, but I don’t think that was the reasoning behind it. Speaking about Jesus in public is hard work, and most people are not interested or can become hostile.

So Peter and John are reluctantly released and they are threatened by the people who arrested them that they better stop their healing and preaching shenanigans, and what do the two apostles do immediately?

They head back to their posse, told them everything that had happened (Oh, I love transparency in ministry!!!), and they all began to praise God!! Once again, huh? Imagine this: “Thank you God for having imprisoned us so we could have a voice with your people who do not yet believe…” And then…the prayer for MORE boldness, to the point that “the place they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness,” (5:31).

I am exhausted just reading this. But I am also intrigued because I want to know what that feels like. I want to know about a power so strong that it casts out all fear. I want to understand more about the Holy Spirit so I can tap into that energy and inspiration more regularly. I want to know what it is like when speaking about Jesus is my only agenda. You can easily say “Wellm, Mother Laurie, isn’t that what you do all the time?” Heavens., no! My preaching and teaching are pretty tame and safe compared to this. Peter and John went to the heart of the place where people gathered who did not believe, and they preached and taught there. Most of what I do is from the very safe confines of a stone building whose walls essentially keep out the people who don’t want to hear.

Let’s pray this prayer together today, ok? “ Grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs in wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (4:29)

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,



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