By Brooke Holt
“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 5:30–32)
Even after being jailed twice, Peter continued to preach the Gospel. He taught the Jewish leaders that Jesus the Messiah came and lived among his people but was rejected and crucified on the cross as a common criminal. The men who questioned Peter that day were responsible for that crucifixion. Yet Peter did not shrink from telling them that they, too, could receive God’s grace—if they would look to Jesus.
Peter proclaimed the good news: Jesus was no longer in the grave! God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him as the Leader and the Savior of Israel and all the world. The disciples had put their hope and faith in this Savior alone. They preached, taught, and healed in his name alone. No prison walls could stop their proclamation—just as these religious leaders could not stop the work of God in his Son.
The apostles proclaimed the heart of the Gospel—repentance and forgiveness. Would these leaders see the power of the Holy Spirit that led Jesus and his disciples? Would they be willing to humble themselves and turn from their sin of rejecting and crucifying the Son of God? The disciples had great power entrusted to them. Common, uneducated men were empowered to teach, preach, and heal.
The Lord worked miracles through his Son and now through the disciples. Would these leaders work with them or against them? Jesus’s followers were witnesses of the resurrection, and there was nothing that would deter them. Their testimony grew bolder every day. As Gamaliel said later in this chapter, “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38–39).
How true are those words—then and today! As you know from church history, the Gospel message continued to go out and change the world. The church grew and flourished despite opposition, persecution, and even martyrdom.
The question remains: Are you with the disciples and the proclamation of the Gospel, or are you against them? There is no neutral ground. The invitation to repentance and forgiveness remains. Jesus died, was resurrected, and now sits exalted above all things at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Will you look to him for the forgiveness of your sins? Will you receive his life in you through the Holy Spirit? And then, will you become a witness to what he has done in your life? When you have received such a great salvation, how can you not share it?
This is such an important question. Are you living your life proclaiming the Gospel message? Do you realize that there is no neutral ground? May you embrace the gift of salvation today and faithfully proclaim what Christ has done for you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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