Perhaps unsurprisingly, healing and proclaiming so forthrightly in the name of Jesus lands Peter and John in trouble. Luke would have us believe it is because the Jewish rulers were deeply troubled. No wonder1 This was a time of huge upheaval and social unrest. Whether it be true or not, any claim such as this that could incite people to riot was to be quashed as quickly as possible, for the good of all concerned. It is easy for us to look down on the Jewish leaders as misguided or worse, with the benefit of hindsight, but it is hard not to have some sympathy with them here. Jesus had proved pretty awkward, and now His followers were proving equally troublesome, just when it was thought they should have been crushed and would disperse quietly, as usually happened when false “Messiahs” were dealt with.
But this time it is different. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit (a key detail) claims that Jesus’s is the only name under heaven by which people can be saved, bold, certainly. We’ll have to return tomorrow to see what the upshot of it is, but there’s no denying the bravery and intensity of Peter’s defiance. He now appears to have an unshakeable belief in the “right” of what he says about the power and story of Jesus Christ, only a few short days after denying Him, and being certain that he, Peter, would be rejected permanently by his Lord. What had happened to bring about this tremendous change? Jesus’s acceptance of him over breakfast certainly helped, but I would wager that as well as this, seeing 5000 men flock to the cause of Christ as he preached in His name might have bolstered Peter’s confidence a bit too! We know that he wasn’t an eloquent speaker, but he did make himself available to God for use as God saw fit. Are we willing to do the same today?