Esther 3-5 Acts 5:22-42
“Peter and the other apostles answered, “We must obey God, not human authority! You killed Jesus by hanging him on a cross. But God, the God of our ancestors, raised Jesus up from the dead!” (Acts 5:29-30 NCV)
There are times when people make your jaw drop. The High Priest, while interrogating Peter and John after re-arresting them, accused them of trying to pin Jesus’s crucifixion on the Jewish leaders after reminding them that they’d been warned not to teach or preach in His name. I’m sure Peter must have been somewhat puzzled. That’s when he let them know that they may be the leaders on earth, but the apostles were going to obey God – oh, and by the way, the reason they were blaming the Jewish leaders for the death of Jesus is that the Jewish leaders were responsible for sending Him to the cross. God was more powerful than the leaders, though, who sought to kill Jesus because He raised Jesus from the dead.
Christianity lives or dies on one issue: the resurrection. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then the crucifixion and everything that He taught was of no importance. Oh, sure, He had some great teachings, but they all depend on the resurrection. Peter reminded the Jewish leaders that not only had they put Jesus to death, they’d also been overruled by God on the death sentence when He raised Jesus from the dead. Stories of the resurrection had been circulating since the day Jesus had risen. In all this time, they didn’t look for Jesus’s body. The Jewish leaders never brought any proof that Jesus was still dead. They were worried about their reputation. Some later came to know Christ and accept His forgiveness. Jesus even offered forgiveness to the leaders and the Roman soldiers on the cross. Accepting His forgiveness would make the Jewish leaders swallow crow and admit that they were wrong. That sounds a lot like people today. If you want to upset people, remind them that their sins sent Jesus to the cross. (Sin, of course, being the modern day forbidden word.) They’ll either deny that they were sinners, or they’ll justify themselves by noting that their sins weren’t so bad. God freely offers to forgive anyone. The problem is that they’ll have to swallow their pride and admit that God is right, and they aren’t. That may be hard for many people today. Our job is to live in His resurrection power each day, recognizing that God loves all people and wants them to come to Him. Show His love to the most unlovable people and let God continue to work in them.
Lord, I confess that my sins were one of the reasons You went to the cross. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You that I have the privilege of obeying You and sharing Your love.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved