In a showdown with his critics, the apostle Peter said, Jesus is alive whether you want to believe it or not. In fact, Peter goes on to say there is salvation and no one else. God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
Great statement of salvation. No other name. No other source.
No other channel. Only Jesus. In the deeply agitated times in which we live, when critics have become openly cynical toward Christians, how do we know when it's time to speak up or when it's time to remain silent? Boldness is a virtue, but so is restraint.
So how do we determine which to exercise? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll recounts a story in Acts chapter 4 that provides answers to those questions. It's when Peter and John were put on the spot by their adversaries. Chuck titled his message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. The story we're considering today is a story of two ordinary men involved in an extraordinary experience.
Not because of them, but because of the power Christ Jesus gave them as he empowered them to do and to say extraordinary things. The story is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts. I'll be reading for you the first 22 verses as we continue our series on walking in integrity in times of adversity. Jesus has been crucified, resurrected, and ascended.
He is off the earth, physically. His disciples are carrying on in his absence, as we do today. Here's a classic example of integrity working its way out with great courage. Or without courage, integrity simply lies dormant.
But in these lives, it makes an impact. Acts 4, verse 1, I'll be reading from the New Living Translation. While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the temple guard and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus, there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them.
And since it was already evening, they put them in jail until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it. So the number of men who believe now totaled about 5,000. That would not count the women and children.
So the number must have been more like 12,000 or more. The next day, the council of all the elders and rulers and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas, the high priest, was there along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, by what power or in whose name have you done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one who is referred to in the scriptures where it says the stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else.
God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. What should we do with these men?
They ask each other. We can't deny that they have performed a miraculous sign and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus again. So they called the apostles back in and commanded them. Never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard. The council then threatened them further.
But they finally let them go because they didn't know how to punish them without starting riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign. The healing of a man who had been lame for more than 40 years. For a moment, put yourself in the place of John and Peter. What would you have said?
What would you have done? You're listening to Insight for Living. To search the scriptures with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. Chuck titled his message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. Jesus never promised us a rose garden. He never told his followers that if if we walk in his footsteps, we'll have it made like a downhill slide, like a walk toward a playground just to have fun. On the contrary, he warned his followers that it would be like entering into a battleground.
The fight is on. It wouldn't be easy. I took the time to look through the Gospels and to note statements made by Jesus, recorded by each of the Gospel writers.
They're pretty powerful. Matthew records the words of Jesus when he says this in his Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Matthew 5-11. And another time, Mark writes Jesus' words, Everyone will hate you because you are my followers. Mark 13-13. Luke adds still another as Jesus looked far ahead.
You will be dragged into prisons and you will stand trial because you are my followers. Luke 21-12. And John, who records more of the details regarding the Last Supper than the other three Gospel writers, comes to the very end of that Last Supper before they made their way across the Kidron Valley up to the Garden of Gethsemane and then the arrest, trials, and crucifixion.
But before they left the room, Jesus said to his followers, Here on earth you will have many trials and many sorrows. Those words must have rung in the ears of Peter and John when their cell door slammed shut that night that they spent in the fortress of Antonio having been arrested. What had they done that was so wrong? What crime had they committed? What law had they broken? Well, actually, none. There was this lame man who is over 40 years old, has never walked in his life.
Imagine that. Who is carried to the gate of the temple every day, known no doubt by all the city of Jerusalem who darkened the door of that temple, passed right by the man, begging for alms. He's now walking. He is in fact leaping and dancing.
He can't stop smiling. Immediately he has been healed, not by Peter and John. All they did was tell him they had neither silver nor gold, and Peter reached out his hand and took it, and the power of the resurrected Christ gave life to his limbs and put his ankles into shape and his knees and his legs. And for the first time he stood erect. Then they had also seen that as an occasion to deliver the reason for that healing, and that is, Christ has been raised. He is alive.
And if he can change this man, he can change you. And there were 5,000 men, not to count the women and children who believed. The problem with those who arrested them, they couldn't deny the miracle.
He's dancing right there in front of them, having a great time. Furthermore, if they did something to harm the two men, they'd have a riot on their hands, for there were these thousands of people in the city who now found hope through these men. So they threw him in jail.
They faced real public relations problems and they realized it, so they had to go about this carefully. Verse 7 of chapter 4 of Acts catches up the story. Mourning came and they are now ready for the hearing.
And by the way, let me catch you up on who was there. First, this was a Sanhedrin meeting, the Jewish Supreme Court. Not nine people as in our court, but 70 Jewish statesmen.
Seventy. And along with them, there were the Sadducees who stood against what had happened. They're been out of shape. They don't believe in the supernatural. They don't believe in angels. They don't believe in miracles. That's why they were sad, you see. I couldn't pass that up.
I mean, it's just laying out there in front of me. So they're there, frowning, ready to throw something at these guys by way of punishment. And then there was Annas. Think of him as the godfather of these religious thugs. And along with Annas, there's his son-in-law named Caiaphas who had the first thought of crucifying Jesus. Caiaphas said, let's kill him. He's there.
Along with two men we know nothing more about named Alexander and a guy named John. And I should add that unlike our Supreme Court, the general public was invited. Anytime the Sanhedrin met, anybody among the Jews could come. So you can believe the courtroom is packed with a majority of those who believe in the accused. And they're watching with a great deal of interest what's going to be said and what's going to be done.
So Annas, Caiaphas, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin decide they will fall back on some of their favorite methods, one of which is tradition. They need to conduct this trial based on longstanding policies, not a genuine investigation. And then of course there is intimidation.
You can't miss that. If you've ever been in a courtroom, you understand intimidation. But all of these people, all of these who are there ready to accuse them, intimidation is a technique used for the purpose of striking fear in the hearts of those who are on trial.
And then along with that, the method they'll use is coercion. They're going to set this setting and set these men straight so that Peter and John stop it. They're not going to have more of this Jesus stuff going on.
They've dealt with that. Jesus has been crucified and they're spreading the rumor that he has been raised from the dead. The difficulty is they're talking about his power now, and they've got standing in front of them an example of that power in the life of one who has been healed. And in walk Peter and John. Now, let's not be impressed with Peter and John. If it helps, they're Pete and John.
Peter knows more about fishing than he ever will know about theology. And John, he spent his youth fighting with his brother. They were known as sons of thunder.
I mean, he had a temper that would go crazy. And Peter and John, they had been disciples of Jesus, so they walk in, and the first thing we read about them is that they're just ordinary men. You know, we've not done a real service for the disciples. We have made them into saints, statues. Most of them have halos, and they're standing in great cathedrals.
You know, Saint John, Saint Peter, Saint Matthew. They would never want to pose for anything like that. They're just men.
If it wouldn't offend anyone, and even if it does, it would be like a couple of high school dropouts being brought before this august body. They didn't even finish their first year before they dropped out, and they began to run with a group that was a rogue group in the eyes of the official people of Israel, and now they're standing trial. But the problem is the people who have them on trial are at a loss to know what to do about them. They got their tail in the crack.
How could they really do more than threaten them without a riot? So they march them in front of them, and they ask, by what power and in whose name have you done this? Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed?
I mean, did you notice? This man, he's healed. And by the way, neither here nor anywhere else do any of these official religious leaders ever once applaud or pat the guy on the back or say to him or someone else, man, this is remarkable.
They just look right past him. So Peter and John, or Pete and John, point to him and say, are we on trial because he's been healed? I mean, is that wrong? I mean, isn't that a good deed? Isn't that a good thing, what we've done? Now, do you want to know how he was healed?
We didn't do it. We happened to be there, and I held out my hand, told him I didn't have any money. But I do know Jesus, and he's changed our life. He can change yours.
So I just lifted him up by the hand, and he stood up. You see, I've got it pictured as teenagers. It reminds me of a country western song where the teenager says, you can lock me up in jail, but my face will still break out. These guys are saying, you can lock me up. You can lock us up, but I got to tell you, our faith's going to break out. You can't stop that.
You can't. As a matter of fact, Jesus is alive, whether you want to believe it or not, and they're looking in the faces of theologically trained, official people. In fact, Peter goes on to say there is salvation, and no one else. God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
Great statement of salvation. No other name. No other source.
No other channel. Only Jesus. Now look at the response of the members of the council. I love sections like this because it gets us into some of their feelings and reactions. The members of the council were amazed. They were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, not the arrogance. There's a difference. Arrogance stems from insecurity. It's a sign of trying to cover up a lot of weakness. Boldness is a confidence that only Christ could give, and they were amazed to see it in these. In fact, look at it. Look.
Read on. Because they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They had never been in a Jewish seminary. They had never been taught the finer details of philosophy. They couldn't quote Hillel or Shammai or Gamaliel. It wasn't their stuff. They only knew Jesus. And there was nothing the council could say.
You know why? Verse 13 tells us they noticed they were men who had been with Jesus. They were Jesus people.
Sounded just like Jesus. They're doing the work Jesus did. We thought we were through with all that.
No. It's going on. They didn't know what to do.
They were strictly at a loss. And Pete and John are saying, we've only done what's right. So why were we arrested? So when judges don't know exactly what to do, they call a recess. And so they call a recess and they put them back behind bars. And they ask among themselves, verse 16, what are we going to do with these?
They ask each other, what are we going to do? We can't deny that they have performed miraculous signs. And everybody in Jerusalem knows about it.
To keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak anymore in that name again. There was no stopping the momentum of excitement about Jesus. The disciples had walked with Christ and a spiritual revolution had been ignited. You're listening to Insight for Living, and we're midway through a message from Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll called The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. It's the tenth message in a 12-part teaching series titled Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity. And if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, when these moments of conflict arise, when there's a public outcry against the ways of Jesus, how do we know when to speak up and when to be silent? When do we choose boldness and when do we choose restraint? Well, these are tough questions to answer, and Chuck Swindoll believes that this kind of discernment comes from wisdom because, as the writer of Proverbs said, it is the Lord who grants wisdom. Along these lines, we're very pleased to let you know that Insight for Living is making available a daily devotional book from Chuck called Wisdom for the Way. As you walk with Jesus in 2022, this 365-day devotional will help you discover how to overcome the drag of human opinion and how to exude the love and grace of Christ.
It's contained in a leather-soft cover, and it's available for purchase right now when you ask for the devotional called Wisdom for the Way by Chuck Swindoll. Just call us if you're listening in the United States. Dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org slash offer. And thanks for remembering that these daily visits with Chuck are made possible through your voluntary donations. To give a contribution today online, go to insight.org slash donate. Or if you're listening in the United States, call 1-800-772-8888. Join us when Chuck Swindoll talks about the Integrity of Righteous Resistance, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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