Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Acts 5:22-32 – How to testify

Perhaps Luke was smiling as he wrote the description of the trial of the apostles. He describes the gathering of the council in all their human dignity. In confidence, they send for the prisoners and discovered that, although all the security systems were working, the prisoners were gone. Their confidence turned to confusion. On being informed that the apostles were preaching openly in the temple, the officers went and escorted them to the court.  God gave to his servants an official retinue as they walked to the place of trial.

The charge made against the apostles tells of the effectiveness of the witness of the church in the city. They had filled Jerusalem with their teaching. In every location of the city, people were talking about the message of the apostles.

On hearing the charge, the apostles repeated their earlier determination that they would obey God rather than men. They had the same message for the politicians as they had for the crowds in the temple. Situations do not modify the message, although a shorter message is given when necessary. So the apostles declared the gospel again to the Sanhedrin.

In addition to highlighting the sinful involvement of the Sanhedrin in the death of Jesus, the apostles stressed the resurrection and ascension of Jesus rather than the cross by itself (of course, the resurrection presupposes his death). And they emphasised that Jesus has been exalted to be a Saviour, ‘to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’. Furthermore, they confirmed that they witnessed the resurrected Jesus, they observed his ascension to heaven, and they had seen thousands of people receive forgiveness from him. In addition, the Holy Spirit was confirming these great realities in the lives of all these converts.

This was a wonderful testimony to give, in which there were no exaggerations. The apostles did not need to engage in such a pointless means of emphasising things. They told it as it was, and it was a marvellous account.

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