"And when [the Jewish captain and officers] had brought [the apostles], they set them before the [Jewish] Sanhedrin. And the high priest [Caiaphas] questioned them saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name [of Jesus], yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.' But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.'" - Acts 5:27-32
Preaching the good news of Jews causes conflict. This is why it is so difficult to do. The apostles lacked this kind of boldness when Jesus was heading to the cross. It was their experience of Jesus' resurrection and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that changed them into bold witnesses unafraid of the Sanhedrin.
They speak truthfully. The Sanhedrin did kill Jesus by hanging him on a tree. These are the very same individuals who sent Jesus to Pilate.
The apostles filled Jerusalem with their teaching about Jesus. What would it look like for us to fill Dunedin with our teaching about Jesus?
On a mountain biking shuttle up to Signal Hill yesterday, I listened to a group of three young men talking about inflation, girls, sex, the cost of rent, and other matters using not-so-nice language. I failed to mention Jesus to them. I lacked the courage to speak.
We must obey God rather than men. There are unwritten cultural rules that tell us we can't speak about Jesus in public, except maybe at an ANZAC Day service. But we need to violate some of these cultural rules so that we can proclaim the gospel to lost people.
Father, we need a new boldness in the church today. May we not give up on the people around us. Help us to BLESS them by: (1) Beginning with prayer; (2) Listening; (3) Eating together; (4) Serving them; and (5) Sharing God's story. May we sow abundant seed and follow up with those who respond, who have soft hearts. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman