Heather has provided today’s notes. As usual the passage can be read here.
News of the healing miracle travelled fast and within possibly 30 minutes (!), certainly before Peter had finished speaking to the crowd of onlookers, the Jewish religious leaders appeared with the temple police. They immediately put an end to Peter’s open-air preaching, but not before Peter’s message had had a huge effect (v4). The Sadducees were the Jewish ruling class of wealthy aristocrats who controlled the temple; they did not believe in the resurrection or in a personal Messiah, so to hear ordinary men teaching the resurrection of Jesus with coherence and Scriptural backing infuriated them. Just when they thought they had sorted out their ‘Jesus’ problem, it had bubbled up again!
The following morning’s interrogation, with Caiaphas and Annas present must have brought back memories to Peter of the night of his denial of Jesus, but Peter is a changed man now. He is convinced of the truth of what he has seen, heard and experienced first-hand. He seems to revel in his new understanding of how the Old Testament fits in with Jesus as he quotes from it again (v11). Although it is a bit different for us, in that we are used to the Old Testament, it should still be a thrill for us each time we see a bit more of Jesus in the Old Testament!
Notice again how fearless Peter is in speaking the truth (v10) despite the strong possibility of that bringing persecution on himself. He is not intimidated by those more important and more influential in society, but is quietly confident and secure in his personal knowledge of Jesus, testifying again to the power of the name of Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit (whose job is always to glorify Jesus) and asserting the uniqueness of Jesus as the only source of salvation (12). Peter’s use here of emphatic negatives – ‘no-one else’ and ‘no other name’ – gives a sense of his ‘bold’ yet ‘gentle’ testimony (v8-10).
The uniqueness of Jesus is frequently challenged today, in our age of tolerance and multiculturalism, where all faiths are regarded as of equal merit. It is something we need to be clear on and to gently but firmly make a stand on, even though it makes us unpopular. Jesus is indeed the only way to God, as he himself claimed. (John 14: 6)
Do we have such a love as Peter for the Bible, and a growing desire to see more and more how it all fits together, so that we can share the uniqueness of Jesus with others?
Let’s pray specifically today by name for someone who doesn’t accept that Jesus is the only way to God and pray for boldness and gentleness for ourselves.