Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 Andmore than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns round Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
Challenged by Power
There seems to be a power at work in society to diminish the faith and undermine believers. We grow weary in doing good and we are constantly pressured from within and without to give up on serving others and to take care of ourselves. These last few weeks I have been sick twice, had my computer malfunction, and had my house flood ($11K worth of structural damage). I could just look at all of these things as coincidence, but I think that they are meant to discourage me. Following God seems a little like walking through treacle at the moment. I know that it is good, but I feel unnatural resistance to reading my Bible and when I pray I do not sense the nearness of God in the refreshing way that I did a month ago.
The apostles faced opposition which must have let them wondering how they would ever proceed. They must have wondered why they were persecuted and whether the message they had been given would ever prevail. Kelli and I are writing a book to encourage Christians which, we believe, could be the kind of support many twentysomethings need as they feel disillusioned with God and his church. The faculty at Moody are alarmed at some of the hypocrisy in the student body, and we have been forced to start by examining our own lives and crying out to God that he would work powerfully for his name’s sake. In these times of resistance and darkness we are seeing lightning bolts of God’s power. the Spirit is stirring in our midst. We are challenged by our own shortcomings and the darkness of this age of diluted truth and foundationless living to pursue God more fervently. Maybe when we are desperate for him, he will show up with the same power that he does in Acts.
Oh God, we are weak and the world seems so confusing and overwhelming. Opposition to universals and to dogmatic belief are pushing the ‘nice’ people in your church into hiding. Some are fearful and some are hateful. Let us be a people who are loving and kind and bold. Show us the path to work through. Break the resistance to your Kingdom with the power of your Spirit. Give us the wisdom that we lack and the eloquence to communicate. Oh, God, for your name’s sake comfort the hurting and raise up the downcast.
- What factors were working against the gospel in the time of acts?
- What support did the people of God have in order to prevail?
- Why were people afraid to join the followers of Jesus?
- What factors oppose us in the spreading of the gospel and living in the light?
- What resources does God give us in order to prevail?