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Acts Devotionals

Visual Evidence

Jeffery M Pollock says … “We learn approximately 80 percent from what we see and merely 15 percent from what we hear, the most powerful proof you can provide at a trial is visual.”

Years ago we owned a unit in a Sectional Title Complex. We had one worker employed to do maintenance and gardening. Sadly he was lazy and took every short cut in the book and in so doing, developed bad habits. He never liked me when we arrived to live there because I was the youngest owner and knew something about maintenance … and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees as soon as we arrived. In other words, the worker reported directly to me. I tried to teach him many aspects of maintenance, but he felt he knew better, working badly so much so that as the Board of Trustees we gave him verbal warnings firstly followed by written warnings. He needed to paint the gates into every unit one year. I showed him how to remove the rust, apply a steel primer and undercoat followed by two coats of paint. His work was so awful that the Board of Trustees decided to dismiss him. He took us to the CCMA (the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration), wanting his job back. In dismissing him we paid him an extra months pay, a week’s pay for every year worked, leave pay that was owing plus a prorate bonus. Leading up to his dismissal, we took advice from a deputy director who worked for the Department of Labor and had an inspector from that Department speak to the worker. We followed all required steps so that Substantively and Procedurally we had all boxes ticket. We won the case even though he had a lawyer representing him because Substantively and Procedurally we had done things legally and for the benefit of the worker. “Visually” we could prove we operated procedurally as all documents (a lever arch file full) plus substantively over 100 color photos of poor workmanship together with owners who had been dissatisfied with his workmanship and behavior over many years (long before we lived there) as witnesses. Today’s reading follows:

Ac 4:14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

1) Not even the “esteemed” body of Jewish rulers called the Sanhedrin could deny the substantive evidence before them.

Ac 4:14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

This body that found Jesus worthy of crucifixion could not refute the once crippled man having been healed as he was walking, running and jumping around praising God. If all the people going to and from the Temple via the gate called Beautiful saw the cripple begging for years and years, these spiritual leaders would have as well :

Ac 3:9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful.

You can picture him having been placed there to beg for so many years because:

Ac 4:22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

From a physical perspective, this man could be seen as the one who was known to them as a cripple, now healed. They themselves ought to have rejoiced and celebrated this miracle. They would not though because their gripe was with Jesus whom they rejected as Messiah. We live within an age where many miracles are claimed and few if any are proved genuine over time. Yet there is one miracle that cannot be denied, even by the greatest opposition to the Gospel, and this is a life transformed from deadness to life. The New Birth, given by God is the greatest miracle because it takes a soul that is spiritually dead to God, living and thriving in sin, wickedness, evil and rebellion and changes it to live in love, service, joy and obedience to Jesus as Lord and King. Who can understand what has happened? Such a rebel now living in love for Jesus. The hardest heart; the most difficult attitude; the worst arrogance … the thoroughly opposed to Jesus person, now changed, in love and in service to a new Master. Who can understand this? No one … but this is the miraculous … yet so often such a transformation is frowned upon and even persecuted … why … because they surrender to Jesus and in so doing were healed spiritually from their crippled, decrepit, wicked heart! People of this world can be just like those in the Sanhedrin. They can’t understand the change though they have to agree the substantive evidence is there … and the deeper reality behind the miracle is Jesus … and they hate it.

2) The Sanhedrin could not deny the substantive evidence but did not know how to handle this dilemma. What were they to do?

Ac 4:15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it.”

The substantive evidence in Jesus’ favor and Peter and John was such that the people of Jerusalem knew the miraculous had happened … and the Sanhedrin could not talk it away. Literally they had a dilemma. Have you noticed that throughout Jesus’ arrest and trials as well as every time the apostles were arrested, never did they pray to God for wisdom and guidance? Yet one of the most important strategies of the Lord Jesus and the apostles was to pray, either before or after a challenge. It is foolish to discuss strategies like the Sanhedrin did. We pray because prayer reveals whom we trust.

Father, help us to always seek Your guidance in all matters for Jesus sake. Amen.

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