From time to time Jenny and I would hit the “YouTube” Channel and search for Border Control videos about airport security. There are times in Australia and the USA when the security officers open bags and suitcases and find imitation products such as handbags, purses, watches and jewelry. According to the laws of a country, you may bring in one of each such items in and anything over and above will be confiscated and destroyed because the copyright of a branded item means the manufacturers lose out when counterfeit products are sold.
Today we come to a passage that I would say God was authenticating the Gospel Message preached by the apostles. That is, proving it was not counterfeit.
Ac 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
1) Solomon’s Colonnade. The KJV uses Solomon’s Porch; the ESV uses Solomon’s Portico whilst the NIV uses Solomon’s Colonnade … all referring to the same place. It was situated on the eastern side of the temple and had a roof. This meant that there was more protection there from the weather than the temple courtyards. It seemed very spacious. We are first introduced to Solomon’s Colonnade in Acts in chapter 3v11 after the healing of the man crippled from birth. Maybe because the crowds flocked there after this healing became known, the apostles “set up office” there … And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. Christians always find a place to meet. For the Early Church, this was convenient because there was still an attachment to the temple and synagogue, which lasted until they were booted out. Although:
Ac 5:13 No one else dared join them.
Their witness to the Risen Jesus and their defiant bravery against the Jewish Sanhedrin showed onlookers and people passing by that although the threat against their persons was possible death, they stood firm for Jesus. In this passage this is the first lesson we need to learn … steadfast commitment even in the face of severe opposition and possible death.
2) Great respect. The first believers gathered in Solomon’s Colonnade … were highly regarded by the people. They were respected for their stand against the religious leaders. Many wanted to join them, but:
Ac 5:13 No one else dared join them.
They feared being ostracized, disciplined or excommunicated from the temple and synagogue. This was more serious than being excommunicated from Church Membership today as all of society was attached to Judaism. Many believers lost everything they had, homes, lands, employment, families … because they followed the Risen Jesus. Many respected them, yet feared the consequences of becoming a believer themselves. This is where the followers of Jesus need to stand together, forming an environment that should this happen to anyone wanting to be a Christian today, they would have a safe haven and protection to follow Jesus even though they lose all they have. Many look at the Church, respect her and want what she has … they want Jesus but fear their future at home, work or amongst their friends. The Church needs to come to the fore … for she is able to create such a safe haven … the Church can … but will the Church do this? It is largely up to the members to create such an environment. The Early Church is our example and model. Look at the end of chapter 2 and 4 of Acts!
3) Even though those looking on would not join the Church right then … many others did:
Ac 5:14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
It is not who was in the Church or what they did that attracted people to believe in the Risen Jesus. People believed in the Risen Jesus (Lord) because of what God was doing in and through the Church! It is an unwritten Gospel Law that when the Church does things God’s way … according to the Gospel, the numbers increase. That is a Gospel Law! What is exciting is that both men and women joined the Church. This is what we need today. Sometimes only women join a Church. They might bring their children along … but the Church needs whole families. We need men … because no woman can set an example of Biblical Manhood for both boys and girls! The boys need godly Christian men to look up to … men who will disciple them. Girls need to see good Christian men who care for their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and other women in general. How else will she know what sort of man to look out for when it comes to marriage?
4) Authenticating the Gospel. Over and over in the early chapters of Acts we find God proving His Gospel to be True by working through the apostles doing miraculous signs and wonders.
Ac 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.
Ac 5:15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
It is difficult to say whether the people laid on their mats or beds had Peter’s shadow fall on them and whether they were healed. `Because of verse 16’s ending … and all of them were healed … they might well have been included. I am hesitant because too many believe relics are supposed to have power when touched, yet they are objects of superstition. When our one granddaughter was dying, someone sent a picture of praying hands to be place on or next to her for healing. We did not entertain it. However, God did work the miraculous through the apostles … signs, wonders, healings and exorcisms … and these all authenticated the Gospel of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah, sent firstly to the Jews, that they receive Him, believe in Him and repent of their sin and be saved.
O God, thank You for the Gospel. Thank You that today we have solid proof that the Gospel is real, changing people and saving them from sin. Amen.