Some people share their good news with a selected few. There is nothing wrong with this … but one cannot be selective when it comes to the Gospel. Some are … they want to choose whom they want in heaven and judge against those they don’t want in heaven by not sharing the Gospel with them. Apart from the fact that our Lord instructed we go into all the world, making disciples of all nations, some Christians believe they can decide who enters heaven because of some bent they have, be it spiritual, religious or political. Look at how Peter speaks to the religious / political leaders as well as the complete nation:
Ac 4:10 “then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.’”
1) Facts are Facts and Truth is Truth compared to speculation and religious ideas fashioned by man. Peter says … “then know this”. The Jews had three important religious books. The one was called the Torah which is the five books Moses wrote, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They called this the Law. The second was the Talmud which consisted of a set of books known as the Mishnah and Gemara with some auxiliary materials. These were a comprehensive written version of the Jewish oral law and the subsequent commentaries on it originating in the second century BC. Then add to this the “traditions of the elders” which consisted of “knowledge, customs, practices and beliefs” handed down from generation to generation.
(a) The Torah (Law of Moses) was debated by Jewish scholars through the years with commentaries (Talmud) being written as to what it meant. The Jew stuck to this interpretation.
(b) The rest of the Old Testament as we have it was not considered Scripture … though Jesus claimed it as such.
(c) The traditions of the elders or fathers was like a holy book with the Jews believing it taught how to do life and religion. With the Jewish mind being controlled by the Law (limited Scriptures), the Talmud and the traditions of the elders / fathers, one can easily understand that being selective, the focus of Messiah was covered up, not taught properly, resulting in a sewed teaching and approach to God’s promised Messiah. Now when Peter preached … “then know this”, he was expounding the Messiah’s Mission which the leaders in particular willfully refused to acknowledge. Even today they still await their Messiah without realizing He has already come. Many Christian Sects have additional books seeking to explain their Holy Books and teachings. Others willfully prevent their people from using the Bible by supplying alternative readings which leave out certain key doctrinal matters of Biblical Christianity. Still others interpret the Bible from a position that it is not all the Word of God. This sort of control is exactly what the First Century Jews were confronted with. Facts are Facts and Truth is Truth. The only Christian and Biblical position to have regarding Scripture is an evangelical one. This means to believe the Bible as we have it as God’s out breathed, inspired, authoritative and inerrant Word, given for mankind to know God, love, serve and obey Him correctly … living under His Kingly reign.
2) Blatantly and pointedly Peter’s preaching is fully inspired of the Spirit directed firstly at the top spiritual leaders and then at all the peoples of Israel. Once again in his preaching he is unashamed to include the Gospel pointing out that they as the Jews put their Messiah to death! The past and present chief priests were present. They were the ones who sent Jesus to Pilate with false charges against Him. They also instigated the masses to call for Jesus to be crucified. Yes they were responsible and killed Jesus.
3) You must never be shy to preach, teach or share the Gospel. Peter preached … crucified but whom God raised from the dead. This is the heart of Christianity. This is the heart of the Gospel. Leave out Jesus’ death and resurrection and there is no Gospel! We need to pray that God will enable preachers to include the Gospel in all their preaching because the complete Bible is all about Jesus. If we want to call the Bible God’s love book to mankind, then we need to realize that it His love book because:
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The Church who does not preach the Gospel is the Church who is not truly Christian. Paul put it this way:
Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
4) The alarming news. The Jewish leaders asked the question:
Ac 4:7 “By what power or what name did you do this?”
There is the beggar who was crippled from birth. He is healed and Peter and John were the ones responsible for this miracle … according to the Jewish leaders. Now follows the answer:
Ac 4:10 “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.’”
The power and the name behind this healing miracle is Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you killed, yet whom God raised to life. That is the name and the power in which this man is healed! Peter quotes from:
Ps 118:22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.
But notice how he applies it to them by replacing “the” with “you”. They as the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Ruling Council … are the “builders” of the nation and where they ought to have received, accepted and used the “stone” in their building of the “spirituality” of the nation, they rejected it. Yet God used this very stone to become the “capstone” of His spiritual building … His Kingdom. The capstone is the foundation stone and Jesus is just that. He is the foundation of the New Covenant, the True Christian Church … the Kingdom of God. They rejected Jesus! They rejected the foundation of eternal salvation. You might think Peter is harsh … no … rather he is loving and caring and pastoral. He wants them to understand their need of this stone they rejected if they want God and His heaven for themselves. Beloved this is true today. God’s Messiah has come. Even though people reject Jesus, it does not mean there will be another Messiah. There won’t. He has come and He can heal spiritually as He healed the beggar physically.
Thank You Jesus. Amen.