Eighth Day of Lent

Acts 5:17-42

Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. Acts 5:38-39

These words, spoken by the Pharisee Gamaliel concerning the apostles, are so profound. The purpose of the apostles was to proclaim Jesus Christ, heal the sick and tormented in his name, and like the angel told them in verse 20, to “tell the people the full message of this new life.” In this passage alone, we see that obedience to this call led to the apostles being thrown into jail, almost killed by the religious leaders, and flogged (which by the way, caused them to rejoice).

None of these things stopped them, though, because their purpose and activity was from God. An angel of the Lord freed them from prison. Then, the Sanhedrin let them go, even though the religious leaders wanted to kill the disciples for the message they were preaching. The passage ends by saying, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42). 

Praise God that more than 2,000 years later, despite persecution, this message is still true and is still spreading. We are privileged to carry on this work, proclaiming Christ to a world that, like the Jewish leaders, does not want to be guilty of the blood of Jesus. This call is from God, and we can have confidence that he is at work accomplishing his purposes, no matter the opposition we face.

In the death of Jesus, it appeared that God’s plan had failed. The one who claimed to be the Messiah was dead and buried. We celebrate that the story does not end there. In verses 30-32, Peter and the apostles declare that Jesus is very much alive, and the Holy Spirit has been given to those who obey him. Do we believe that this power is still at work and available to us today? Are our activities and purposes from God, or are they of human origin? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and delivered the apostles from prison is available to us. If what we pursue is from God, nothing will be able to stop us!

Angela Lantz
Ministry Partner, Alaska

  LENTEN READER 2019
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