‘On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.”
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
‘After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.’
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It happens once, then it happens again, and repeatedly. The Holy Spirit is the presence of the Spirit of God within them. Like a flame, a pilot light, now always there, sometimes the Spirit is turned higher and higher, and like a flame, the roaring power is felt within and without.
39 This is no small thing of minor importance. It is God on earth. God’s Spirit manifest in man.
And the transformative effect on the believers who have the Holy Spirit of God within them is profound.
‘All the believers were one in heart and mind.’
Imagine if all humanity were one in heart and mind. The end of all war and division.
On Earth as it is in Heaven. Heaven on Earth.
‘No one claimed any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything that they had.’
Imagine if all humanity did that. The end of greed, and want, and lack. The end of poverty forever.
But humanity cannot do that. Not even close. Because humanity has an individualised heart, and an individualised mind, and is not connected to God, not connected to Christ, not connected by the Holy Spirit, and so is detached from God, detached from Jesus Christ, and detached from the Holy Spirit, and detached therefore from each other.
Some political ideologies have attempted to force people to live like this, and those ideologies have immediately become corrupted, brutal, and evil by nature. For that is the nature of man. Only the Holy Spirit within man can change man’s nature from individualistic and selfish to collectively minded and serving. Any and all attempts to enforce artificially what only God can do will result in an inversion of outcomes.
The price of the alternative to Spirit and Truth is death. As shown by Ananias and his wife. See Acts 5.
The apostles’ ministry of healing, and teaching, and unified righteous living continues lead by the Holy Spirit and the continuous transformative effect of the internal Christ. And more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
‘Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed’.
A reasonable person, perhaps one detached from the situation, might expect the priests of the day to be pleased that people were being healed, pleased that evil was being driven out of people, pleased that people were living good wholesome lives, honouring God, loving one another, and pleased that the actual Holy Spirit of God was at work in their town. What’s not to like?
40 But the Sadducees, those rejectors of Christ, were filled with jealousy, and again, the apostles were persecuted by them.
What was it that the Sadducees hated? It wasn’t the acts of goodness and healing. It was the fact that they were not the ones doing it.
If there’s one word that summarises the character trait of the Sadducees that leads them to become enemies of the God they purport to represent, it is pride.
Pride. A sense of the value of self, completely interwoven with the perception of others perception of oneself. A madness of mirrors of the mind. And the original sin of the fallen.
“Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin, to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said, “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
To be continued…
Extract from All People Must Know by www.BirdLovegod.com