by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).
18And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
21So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
22For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
23And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
That small company of believers in the early Christian Church had many and mighty enemies. There were the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees; they were grieved that the apostles "taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." So they put them in prison. The next day they had a hearing. There were together the "rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest." What an august assembly of influential men! They brought the apostles before them; and after Peter had spoken, they consulted together; then gave the command to the apostles not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." They threatened them again; but finding no way to punish them, because of the people, who sided with the apostles, they let them go.
What did the apostles do now? They went to their own company. They prayed together, "and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness." They were faithful witnesses in spite of the threatenings of their mighty enemies. "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
What kind of witnesses are we?
O teach Thy wandering pilgrims their path at last to trace,
O make Thy Church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,
To bear before the nations Thy true light as of old,
Till clouds and sunshine ended, they see Thee face to face.
Scripture in Devotional: Acts 4:18ff.
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