The Name Lives On: The Work of the Holy Spirit Confronting Men With a Jesus They Thought They Destroyed

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ left and created upon the earth as it was written by Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically today’s passage begins with the twenty-third verse of the fourth chapter and continues through to the eleventh verse of the fifth chapter. “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:23-31).

 

            “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32-37).

 

            “But a certan man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:1-11).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation of the events which took place in the opening verses of the fourth chapter. If you take the time to read the words presented before us in the opening verses of the fourth chapter you will begin noticing opposition which began rising up in the city of Jerusalem against the apostles—not only because of the works which they had done in the name of Jesus but also because of their preaching in the name of Jesus. Oh as I read the words found in this passage I can’t help but wonder what went through the hearts and minds of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the like after they had delivered Jesus up to be crucified and thought they had rid the land and people of Him only to find and discover that a report had begun circulating that He had risen from the grave. The religious system and community was itself aware of the threat and possibility of the Lord Jesus Christ being raised from the dead for He Himself had declared thus in their hearing and presence. What’s more is that you will find the chief priests and certain of the religious leaders approaching Pilate to request a seal be placed upon the tomb and a watch being placed outside the entrance of it. Pilate perhaps unmoved and unconcerned with the actual thought of this man rising from death to life on the third day granted the request of the chief priests and the religious leaders which came unto him. As a direct result of this there were two guards which were stationed outside the tomb as well as a seal placed upon the tomb. In all reality this was perhaps the most secure tomb ever in the history of the land of Israel and the reason it was so was because of the possibility that Jesus might in fact rise from the grave.

 

            The more I read and consider the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that on the third day after Jesus had been crucified and buried—not only was the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb but so also did Jesus rise from death to life as He said He would. It would be on the third day after being crucified Jesus would indeed emerge from the grave leaving the grave clothes behind and once more moving among the land of the living. With this being said we know that at this particular time Lazarus was also walking in the earth during those times as Jesus had raised him from death to life after being dead and buried in the grave for four days. What’s more is that the apostle Matthew writes and records how at the death of Jesus the graves of many of the righteous were opened and those which slept emerged from those graves at the resurrection of Jesus. Imagine what it must have been like in the city of Jerusalem on the third day after Jesus had been crucified—and not only on the third day but also over the next forty days as Lazarus was moving freely in the midst of the land, as reports of Jesus being risen from the grave were circulating, and as many of the righteous which were dead were also alive and walking in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like in the city of Jerusalem during those days as there was not only a report of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ but also as many of the righteous dead which slept arose and came forth from their graves at the resurrection of Jesus. Essentially it’s as if the Holy Spirit was signifying that Jesus was only the beginning and that His resurrection would lead to the resurrection of countless others after Him. This we know to be true from the writings of the apostle Paul who wrote unto the Corinthian saints in his first epistle that Christ was the firstfruits of resurrection and that there is coming a day when the dead in Christ will rise at the sound of the last trump when Christ returns and those which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

 

            There is something truly unique and powerful about what we find in the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for what is present before us is a powerful picture of the Sanhedrin and the very council which stood against Jesus and delivered Him up to Pilate to be crucified encountering His disciples. At this present time the Sanhedrin and the entire religious system were encountering the disciples of the Lord Jesus essentially preaching in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that not only were they preaching in the name of Jesus but they had also wrought an undeniable miracle in the sight and presence of all those present within the city. There is not a doubt in my mind the religious leaders and system of that day thought they had rid the land of the influence of the works and words of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet what we find here is anything but that. What we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is the apostles Peter and John being used by the Holy Spirit to offer healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth to this man who had been lame since his mother’s womb. This man was continually laid at the gate of the Temple called beautiful and was relegated to beg for alms. In all reality just as the religious leaders and system would have assumed be rid of Jesus of Nazareth so also would the enemy and adversary have assumed relegate this man to being lame and begging for alms the rest of his life. We already know from the previous treatise Luke wrote that Satan had bound a woman for eighteen years by bowing her over and preventing her from straightening herself up. Oh I firmly believe those who passed by this man sitting at the gate called beautiful would indeed have simply overlooked this man who was lame and begging in their midst and continue on with their daily lives.

 

            What the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts presents us with is a powerful picture of the apostles Peter and John fastening their eyes upon this man and instructing him to look upon them. This man who had been lame from his birth and who had spent days, weeks, months and perhaps even years begging for alms supposed that Peter and John would have given him alms and followed their request and command. That which the apostles Peter and John gave Him, however, was not alms nor anything in the natural realm which he had been forced to ask for all his life. What the apostles Peter and John offered this man for the first time in his entire life was healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the events which took place on that day as the apostles Peter and John would command this man in the name of Jesus of Nazareth to rise from the place where he had been lying and to be healed in Jesus’ name. What we find next is the apostle Peter stretching forth his hand to help this man rise from the place where he was lying and immediately his feet and ankles received strength and he not only stood up in that place but also leapt for joy. Luke writes how this man would enter into the Temple of the Lord with the apostles Peter and John (for it was the hour of prayer) leaping for joy and praising the God of heaven and earth. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider this particular reality for shortly after the events of the day of Pentecost which occurred in the city of Jerusalem the apostles Peter and John would be used by the Holy Spirit to bring healing to this man who had been lame from birth.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the healing of this man who had been lame from birth would ultimately lead to the apostle Peter once more standing up in the midst of the people and preaching Jesus. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading the words presented before us in this passage of Scripture it’s that the events which occurred on the day of Pentecost with the one-hundred and twenty present in the upper room speaking in the tongues of other nations, languages and people would lead to the apostle Peter standing up in the midst of them on that day and not only confirm the events which took place but also confirm the prophetic words which were spoken by the prophet Joel. Moreover the apostle Peter would also emphatically declare unto those present the truth surrounding this Jesus of Nazareth—that one whom they had delivered up to be crucified and whom Rome had indeed put to death. It’s quite unique and remarkable to consider the fact that fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave we find the events of the day of Pentecost occurring in Jerusalem and creating a stir in the midst of the city as those from other nations, lands and languages heard the one-hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room speaking forth the wonderful works of God in their own tongue and native language. This would cause some to marvel and wonder at what had taken place among them while others would suppose they were mad with new wine. Observing the tremendous stir which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the apostle Peter would stand up in the midst of the people and preach Jesus. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the events of the day of Pentecost would indeed and would in fact lead the apostle Peter to stand up in the midst of the city and emphatically and boldly preach the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

            I have to admit there is something absolutely wonderful about the words we find in the second, third and fourth chapters of this New Testament book for in these chapters we find the apostle Peter standing up in the midst of the people and preaching this Jesus of Nazareth. What an absolutely incredible thought it is to consider how the apostle Peter would not only preach this Jesus of Nazareth as a direct result of the events which occurred on the day of Pentecost but the apostle Peter also preached Jesus of Nazareth in response to the stir created in the Temple when people witnessed this man who was lame from birth and whom they had seen outside the Temple of the Lord begging for alms now walking and leaping for joy as he worshipped and praised the living God. What was once the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth in the sense that it was He who was doing the preaching and what was once the works of Jesus of Nazareth healing on the sabbath and healing in the synagogue and healing all manner of sickness and diseases during those days now appeared to transition from Jesus unto His apostles and His followers. Perhaps the greatest truth surrounding the events which took place during these days is that although Jesus had been delivered up to be crucified, although Jesus had indeed been crucified and buried in the tomb He would not only rise from death to life but also ascend unto the right hand of the Father. Oh in all reality I am convinced that it was necessary for Jesus to rise from death to life on the third day—and not only rise from death to life on the third day but also show Himself alive unto the apostles and those who were with them—for His resurrection from the dead would be the foundation upon which the preaching of the apostles would be built.

 

            If you want to truly understand the tremendous foundation which the preaching of the apostle Peter was built upon you must needs recognize and understand that it was built upon the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. What’s more is that not only was it built upon the resurrection of Jesus from the grave but it was also built upon the truth that Jesus both showed Himself alive unto them as well as showed unto them the scars of His suffering in the flesh. Luke writes at the beginning of this book that for a period of forty days after being raised from death to life Jesus showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs unto those who were present during those days. What’s more is the apostle Paul in his first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints writes how the Lord Jesus showed Himself alive after being raised from death to life unto the apostles, unto upwards of five hundred at one time (many of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of the epistle), and lastly unto the apostle Paul Himself. I am absolutely and completely convinced the foundation and catalyst for the preaching of the apostle Peter was the resurrection of Jesus—and not only the resurrection of Jesus but also the showing Himself as being alive and witnessing the ascension of Jesus unto the right hand of the Father. It wasn’t enough for Jesus simply to rise from death to life on the third day but it was also necessary for Jesus to show Himself alive unto those who were present during those days. Jesus rose from death to life on the third day and would spend the next forty days showing Himself alive and showing the scars of His suffering unto the apostles and those who were present among the apostles during those days. Eventually and ultimately those who had seen Jesus alive and who had witnessed the scars of His suffering and the infallible proofs demonstrating He was alive would indeed witness and behold His ascension unto the right hand of the Father as He was taken up and received into heaven from the mount called Olivet.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the preaching of the apostle Peter for not only was it built upon the foundation of the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ but it was also emboldened by the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It would be the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and His showing Himself alive that would be the catalyst and foundation of the preaching of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost as well as in the Temple after this man who had been lame from birth was healed in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. It is with this being said we must needs recognize and acknowledge the fact that there were those who were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem who were undoubtedly aware of the events which had transpired in recent days and how this Jesus of Nazareth was delivered up by the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the religious leaders to be crucified. What’s more is that those present in the city of Jerusalem might very well have been aware of the report and rumor that this same Jesus had risen from death to life on the third day. It is actually quite unique to think about and consider the fact that the religious leaders and system of that day thought and believed they had rid the land of the influence of this Jesus of Nazareth when they delivered Him up unto Pilate to be crucified. I am absolutely convinced that the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the entire religious system thought and believed they had eradicated the influence and memory of the Lord Jesus from the earth during those days and thought they had accomplished their desire and will.

 

            I write these words and I can’t help but think about what it must have been like for the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people to begin hearing a report that Jesus had been raised from death to life. What’s more is there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what it was like for the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the religious leaders when they heard the report of the guards which were stationed outside the tomb as they recounted the events of that morning. Imagine the guards who were initially brought to the ground on their faces for fear and terror at the earthquake, at the sight of the stone being rolled away and the presence of an angel from heaven returned unto the city of Jerusalem after everything had been said and done. Imagine the guards lifting themselves from the ground and beholding the stone rolled away and removed from the entrance of the tomb, the grave clothes remaining in the midst of the tomb, and the body of Jesus no longer being present in the midst of the grave. We know from the account in the four gospels that these guards were essentially bought and paid off to circulate a report that the disciples of Jesus had come during the night and had stolen His body away from the tomb in which it was laid that they might declare that He had risen from the grave. What makes this incredibly astonishing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that the very thing the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people sought to prevent would ultimately end up taking place. The very thing the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people sought to prevent from happening during those days would end up happening as the stone would be rolled away, as the graveclothes would be left behind in the grave, as the body of Jesus would no longer be in the grave, and as a report would circulate concerning Jesus being raised from death to life.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth that Jesus of Nazareth did indeed and did in fact rise from death to life on the third day as He said He would. Not only this but reports and rumors of His resurrection would begin to be circulated throughout the city and would undoubtedly reach the ears of the chief priests, the scribes, the chief priests and the religious leaders of that day. For forty days the Lord Jesus showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs unto His apostles and followers before He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. I am absolutely confident the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people thought that when they crucified the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His body was buried in the grave they had removed His influence, His teaching and His works from among them in the earth during those days. I firmly believe the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people thought they had eradicated and destroyed Jesus and His influence among them and yet there is something truly powerful which took place—something which they had neither anticipated nor imagined. Here the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of the people and the like thought they had eradicated and destroyed Jesus from among them in their midst and yet not only were rumors and reports circulating of His being raised from death to life but His apostles would begin teaching and preaching in His name in the midst of the city. Beginning with the events which occurred on the day of Pentecost the beloved physician Luke writes and records that the apostle Peter would stand up in the midst of all those present in the city of Jerusalem and would begin preaching the Lord Jesus of Nazareth whom they had crucified and yet whom the living God and Father had raised up from the grave.

 

            THE NAME LIVES ON! THE WORKS LIVE ON! THE MINISTRY LIVES ON! THE MESSAGE LIVES ON! Oh the more I think about and consider the words found in these chapters the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the events which took place on the day of Pentecost as well as not many days hence thereafter. It is in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we encounter the apostle Peter boldly standing before those present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and preaching the name of Jesus of Nazareth—this one whom they had delivered up to be crucified and buried in the heart of the earth. Imagine what it must have been like for those in the city of Jerusalem to witness the events which took place on the day of Pentecost  to hear about this Jesus of Nazareth who they were aware had been crucified and buried in the grave. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like on the day of Pentecost when the apostle Peter stood up and not only proclaimed the prophetic word of Joel and its fulfillment in their presence on that day but also stood up and preached Jesus of Nazareth. Imagine the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, and the religious system being made aware of the preaching of the apostle Peter—and not only his preaching but also his preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth as well as his preaching of this Jesus of Nazareth. Initially they had contended with the actual preaching of Jesus of Nazareth Himself and had dealt with the words which He had spoken unto them and against them and now they were witnessing His apostles preaching in the name of this same Jesus of Nazareth. What we find in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is an incredibly powerful picture of the apostle Peter boldly preaching the name of Jesus of Nazareth—and not only preaching the name of Jesus but also how He had been crucified and been raised from death to life. Oh with this in mind consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be thjis known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and yourt sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchure is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:14-36).

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are presented before us in this passage of Scripture for the words found here bring us face to face with the apostle Peter standing up before those in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and boldly and emphatically preaching the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth. The events which transpired on the day of Pentecost would in and of themselves serve as the spark that would begin to light the embers of the hearts and souls of those in Jerusalem at that time. The events which took place in the upper room would indeed be a catalyst of fire as was even evidenced by the cloven tongues of fire which appeared unto and manifested themselves upon all those who were present together in one accord in one place. It would be the sound of the wonderful works of God being spoken and proclaimed in the tongues and languages of those round about the land of Judaea, Galilee and the city of Jerusalem that would prompt the apostle Peter to stand up together with the eleven and being preaching unto them the events which took place during those days. What would begin with the apostle Peter preaching concerning the prophetic words spoken by the prophet Joel would eventually turn into his preaching the name of Jesus of Nazareth as He would preach of his being delivered up to be crucified, as He would preach of His being crucified according to the predeterminate foreknowledge and counsel of God, as He would preach of His being raised up from death to life on the third day, and as he would even preach concerning His ascension unto the right hand of the Father in heaven. On this particular day the apostle Peter not only preached the resurrection of this Jesus of Nazareth from the grave but he also preached the ascension of this same Jesus of Nazareth as He was not set down at the right hand of the Father in the heavens.

            Oh there is absolutely something special, remarkable and astounding about the words found in these passages of Scripture as they bring us face to face with the preaching of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost—and not only on the day of Pentecost but also after the healing of the man who had been lame from his mother’s womb. It would be the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost that would lead the apostle Peter to stand up together with the eleven and preach this Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified and buried and yet was raised from death to life on the third day and ascended into the heavens and sat down at the right hand of the Father. We must needs recognize and understand just how incredibly significant this truly is as it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the preaching of the apostle Peter—and not only the preaching of the apostle Peter but also what would eventually become the preaching of James, the preaching of Stephen, the preaching of Philip, the preaching of John, the preaching of the apostle Paul, as well as the preaching of the disciples and followers of this Jesus of Nazareth. It wouldn’t be the apostle Peter alone who would preach this Jesus of Nazareth for the preaching we witness and experience on these days would indeed be the beginning of the preaching of the other apostles, the preaching of the apostle Paul, as well as the preaching of the disciples and followers of Jesus of Nazareth throughout the centuries that would follow thereafter. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the apostle Peter would indeed be the first to preach this Jesus of Nazareth after the events of the day of Pentecost would unfold and as many would hear the wonderful works of God being preached and proclaimed in their own language and tongue.

            What we must recognize and understand is just how significant the events which took place in these chapters truly is when you truly consider it. In the Old Testament there were the prophets who were appointed, ordained, appointed and raised up by the living and eternal God to preach repentance unto Judah and Israel. In the Old Testament prophets were raised up in the northern kingdom of Israel as well as in the southern kingdom of Judah calling on the people to turn their hearts toward the living God once more and to no more halt and waver between two opinions. These Hebrew prophets would also preach messages and warnings of judgment, of destruction, of devastation, of chaos and the like if the words of the living God were ignored. It would be during the days of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah the living God raised up prophets among the people to call them to repentance and to turn their hearts back to the one true and living God. In the New Testament, however, we do not find prophets in the sense of what we witnessed and beheld in the Old Testament but rather the apostles and the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be on the day of Pentecost we would experience the first post-resurrection and post-ascension sermon being preached by the apostle Peter. The chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the entire religious system and community thought they had completely removed, destroyed and eradicated the person, the presence and even the influence of Jesus of Nazareth from among them in the midst and yet what we find here in these passages of Scripture is the apostle Peter preaching of this Jesus of Nazareth whom they did in fact succeed in delivering up to being crucified and whom they did in fact succeed in crucifying, yet whom the living and eternal God had raised from death to life. Not only this but the living and eternal God also received Jesus of Nazareth unto Himself as He would ascend from the mount of Olivet forty days after He had been raised from death to life.

            Oh dear brother, oh dear sister it is truly incredible to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to encounter the boldness of the apostle Peter and the other apostles for after the events of the day of Pentecost took place in the midst of the city of Jerusalem there would be something new which would take place in the midst of the land during those days. For three and a half years the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Jews themselves heard and listened to the preaching of this Jesus of Nazareth and witnessed the works which He wrought among them during those days. For three and a half years they beheld the works of Jesus of Nazareth as He not only healed on the sabbath thus showing an apparent disregard for it, as He not only healed in the synagogue, but also as He healed all manner of sickness and disease among them. For three and a half years they watched and witnessed as He opened the blind eyes and deaf ears thus causing people to see and hear again. For three and a half years they watched as the lame walked, as the dead were raised, as lepers were cleansed, and as the gospel was indeed preached to the poor. For three and a half years the religious community and system of that day beheld as Jesus would teach the people concerning this kingdom of heaven as well as His Father whom He declared was the God whom they worshipped and served. In fact, one of the greatest sources of controversy and contention between the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the Jews themselves was not only Jesus healing on the sabbath but Jesus professing God to be His Father thus making Himself equal with God. This is what the entire gospel narrative written by the apostle John is built upon for throughout this gospel we find the opposition and the persecution of the Jews and the religious leaders of those days toward and against the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

 

            If there is one thing I find to be incredibly intriguing when reading the words of the book of Acts it’s that the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the Jews themselves thought they had succeeded in removing and eradicating the influence of this Jesus of Nazareth from the land. They actually thought and believed that by crucifying the Lord Jesus of Nazareth and having Him buried in the grave they would rid the land of His words and works. Much to their chagrin and shock, however, something would happen they neither anticipated nor expected. Of course we know that Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day and showed Himself alive unto His apostles and followers over the next forty days. Of course we know that Jesus ascended unto heaven and was set down at the right hand of the Father. What we must also recognize is that after the day of Pentecost a new phenomenon would take place and occur in the earth. On the day of Pentecost there would essentially be two works which would begin in the earth—the first being the speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance and the second being the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth. The events which took place on the day of Pentecost would introduce men and women during those days to two realities they had not anticipated nor even expected for the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost would lead to the one-hundred and twenty in the upper room speaking with other tongues and the apostle Peter being the first to stand up and preach this Jesus of Nazareth. On the day of Pentecost there would essentially be two witnesses that would be birthed and manifested unto the world—the witness of speaking in other tongues and the witness of preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Oh it is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand this for it helps us to understand and recognize what would come in the third chapter of this New Testament book. It would be in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts where we find the apostles Peter and John offering healing in the name of Jesus unto a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb.

 

            While it is indeed true that the day of Pentecost introduced two distinct realities and events during those days—namely the witness of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance and preaching in the name of Jesus—the events which took place not many days thereafter would lead to yet even more which neither the Jews nor the religious community could have anticipated and expected. The events of the day of Pentecost had already taken place and many within the city of Jerusalem might still be reeling from such events and now something else would take place among them in their midst. As if the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost wasn’t enough they would now experience healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. It would be on the day of Pentecost the apostle Peter would stand up together with the eleven and preach in the name of Jesus and would preach this Jesus of Nazareth whom they had crucified and slain. In the third chapter, however, we find this building and escalating all the more as the apostles Peter and John would offer healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth unto this man who was lame from birth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous fact that within the third chapter there would indeed be healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth as well as preaching in the name of Jesus. You cannot read the words found in the third chapter of the book of Acts and not encounter both healing and preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth and how that which the Jews and that which the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the people sought to eradicate would actually spread like wild fire throughout the city of Jerusalem—and not only in the city of Jerusalem but also throughout Judaea, Galilee, Samaria, and eventually unto the Gentiles themselves.

 

            HEALING IN THE NAME OF JESUS OF NAZARETH! PREACHING IN THE NAME OF JESUS OF NAZARETH! There is within the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts an incredibly wonderful picture of the influence of Jesus of Nazareth continuing to be manifested in the earth. Despite the fact that He was delivered up to the Gentiles to be crucified and despite the fact that He had indeed been slain and put to death He would rise from death to life on the third day and would ascend unto the right hand of the Father. It would be from the right hand of the Father Jesus would send the promise of the Father which was the person of the Holy Spirit and it would be that person and presence of the Holy Spirit that would not only allow the one-hundred and twenty to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and not only speak in other tongues as He gave them utterance, but also embolden them to preach this Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, who was buried, who was raised from death to life and who ascended unto the right hand of the Father in heaven. In the third chapter of this New Testament book of Acts we find written and recorded healing in the name of Jesus and preaching in the name of Jesus—both which demonstrated the awesome and tremendous reality that despite the attempt of the Jews and the chief priests, the scribes and elders of the people to put Jesus to death His works and His words would still continue. What a truly awesome and powerful truth it is to think about and consider the fact that although Jesus was put to death and crucified by the Jews and the religious system of that day His word and His works would continue to be manifested in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Oh imagine what it would have been like for the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people of Israel to hear the name Jesus of Nazareth preached—a name which they thought they would never hear again.

 

            WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD HEAR OF THIS NAME AGAIN! WE THOUGHT WE HAD RID THE LAND OF THIS NAME PERMANENTLY! WHY IS THIS NAME STILL BEING PREACH AND PROCLAIMED? WHY ARE WE STILL HEARING ABOUT THIS JESUS OF NAZARETH? Please do not miss the tremendous importance of these phrases and questions for they call and bring our attention to the place where even though the Jews and the religious leaders thought and believed they had crucified Jesus of Nazareth and although they thought they had eradicated His name and memory from among the people in the midst of the city of Jerusalem His name was still being preached and proclaimed. There is not a doubt in my mind the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the Jews themselves thought that by crucifying and slaying Jesus of Nazareth they would eradicate His words and works from among them. Much to their surprise and shock, however, they would discover His apostles and followers preaching in His name. What’s more is that not only would His apostles and followers preach in His name but they would also heal in His name as this man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was healed and there was nothing they could say to refute or speak against it. HEALING IN JESUS’ NAME! PREACHING IN JESUS’ NAME! That which we find in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is absolutely incredible for it brings us face to face with two distinct manifestations of the presence and power of the person of the Holy Spirit. It would be in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we are brought face to face with healing in the name of Jesus as well as preaching in the name of Jesus. Of course we know the apostle Peter stood up together with the eleven on the day of Pentecost and preached Jesus of Nazareth unto those who were present in the city of Jerusalem and now here in the third chapter we find the apostle Peter once more preaching in the name of Jesus after healing in the name of Jesus had taken place.

 

            In the second chapter of this New Testament book of Acts we find the events which took place on the day of Pentecost leading to the initial preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth while in the third chapter we find the events surrounding the healing of a man who had been lame from birth leading to the apostle Peter preaching in the name of Jesus. The third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider it for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that while it was indeed true the Jews, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people thought they had eradicated and destroyed the influence of Jesus of Nazareth from the earth His apostles would not only heal in His name but they would also preach in His name. The third chapter of the book of Acts is essentially a crucial and pivotal point in the history of the early church and the church as a whole for it would be in this chapter where we would witness the first healing in the name of Jesus as well as the continuation of the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs recognize and understand this as it calls and draws our attention to the powerful fact that here just mere days after the events of the day of Pentecost had passed we witness this influence of Jesus continuing during those days. Whereas the Jews and the religious community of that day thought and believed they had destroyed and eradicated the name and memory of Jesus of Nazareth from among them in their midst the apostles would not only heal in His name but would also preach in His name. It is with this in mind I would like to invite you to consider—not only the healing of this man who was lame from his mother’s womb but also the preaching of the apostle Peter in the name of Jesus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the third chapter of this book for they serve as a background for what we find in the fourth chapter:

 

            “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: and they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement  at that which had happened unto him” (Acts 3:1-10).

 

            “And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? OR why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The god of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:11-26).

 

            Please do not miss the tremendous importance of what is found in the words located in the second and third chapter for what we find within them is an incredibly powerful picture of the name of Jesus continuing to be mentioned in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. The Jews and the religious elite during that day sought to destroy and eradicate Him from their midst and delivered Him unto Pilate to be crucified. Within these two monologues delivered by the apostle Peter we not only find Him preaching the name of Jesus but we also find Him speaking of how the Jews and their religious elite had indeed crucified and killed Jesus of Nazareth. Within both of these sermons the apostle Peter lays the blame and guilt for the death of Jesus at the feet of the Jews and their religious elite and in this second sermon declares that they did it through ignorance. With this being said we find the apostle Peter declaring that although they had delivered Jesus of Nazareth up to the Gentiles to be crucified and killed He would be raised from death to life on the third day because the Father would not allow His soul to abide and remain in hell. The Father would indeed raise His Son from death to life by and through the power of the Holy Spirit on the third day just as Jesus declared would take place. When the apostle Peter spoke unto the Jews and religious elite of this day he emphatically declared unto them that this same Jesus whom they crucified was indeed risen from the grave and was set down at the right hand of the Father. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in these passages of Scripture and consider the fact that despite their best efforts to eradicate and destroy the name of Jesus from the earth the predeterminate counsel and wisdom of the Father would raise Him from death to life. Not only would the Father raise Jesus from death to life again but He would receive Him unto Himself and set Him down at the right hand of all power and authority in the heavens.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by when reading the words found in these chapters is how despite the attempts of the Jews to destroy and eradicate the name and influence of Jesus of Nazareth from the earth the Holy Spirit’s arrival would not only raise up healing in the name of Jesus but would also raise up preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the Jews and the religious elite during those days to know they had crucified Jesus of Nazareth and yet now they were hearing that not only were they guilty of killing the Lord of glory but also how the eternal Father had raised Him up from death to life. Here they thought they would never have to hear the name of Jesus any more and yet what we find is His apostles and followers preaching in His name. What’s more is that not only were they preaching in His name but they were also healing in His name. Despite their best efforts the name and mention of Jesus of Nazareth could not be destroyed, eradicated and removed from the earth for now there was both preaching and healing in His name. The physician Luke records in the second chapter of this New Testament book that on the day of Pentecost there were many who believed the word and preaching of the apostle Peter and three thousand souls were added to their number. Stop and consider the fact that Jerusalem went from trying to destroy the name, mention and influence of Jesus of Nazareth from the earth and fifty days after His resurrection three thousand souls were added to the one-hundred and twenty that were present in the upper room. In response to the preaching of the apostle Peter who proclaimed the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth many were pricked within their hearts and cut to the quick and believed on the name of the Lord Jesus and were saved.

 

            It is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the words found in these passages of Scripture for they bring us face to face with the awesome truth surrounding the healing and preaching which would take place in the name of Jesus. In the second chapter we find the events surrounding the day of Pentecost leading to the preaching of the apostle Peter concerning the name and gospel of this Jesus of Nazareth. This gospel not only proclaimed Jesus crucified and buried but also resurrected and ascended. JESUS CRUCIFIED! JESUS BURIED! JESUS RESURRECTED! JESUS ASCENDED! Although they had given their best efforts and their best hand to try and destroy and eradicate Jesus the eternal Father in His predeterminate wisdom and foreknowledge would raise Him from death to life. Not only would the eternal Father raise up Jesus from death to life but He would also receive Him unto Himself in glory and set Him down at His right hand. It would be from the right hand of the Father this Jesus of Nazareth—the eternal and only begotten Son of God—would send the promise of the Father which was the Holy Spirit. The person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit would embolden and raise up the apostles to preach a gospel concerning Jesus of Nazareth. Despite the fact that Jesus had been crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended unto the right hand of the Father His apostles would remain upon the earth continuing the work He began and left unfinished as well as beginning a work which hadn’t yet been started. What we witness in the second chapter is the beginning of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth and what we witness in the third chapter is the beginning of the healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Not only this but what we find in the fourth chapter is the continued opposition toward Jesus of Nazareth with the exception being that opposition being lobbied against His apostles and followers.

 

            What we find in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book of Acts is the beginning of the opposition against the apostles of Jesus of Nazareth—and not only opposition against the apostles of Jesus but also against the gospel they were now preaching. What was once simply the teaching and preaching OF Jesus of Nazareth was now transformed into preaching ABOUT Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended unto the right hand of the Father in heaven and now we find His apostles and followers remaining upon the earth teaching and preaching in His name. We know that Jesus spoke of them asking whatsoever they would in His name but what we also find is them preaching and healing in His name. It was this healing and preaching in His name that would not only draw the attention of the chief priests, the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees but would also draw their rebukes, their questioning and threatening. It is in the fourth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the same opposition that would originally begin toward and against Jesus being lobbied against and carried out upon His apostles and followers. What’s more is this is precisely what Jesus spoke unto them about when He declared how they would be hated of all men for His name’s sake and how they would be put out of the synagogues. The words and language we find in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book is incredibly powerful when you think about the fact that the fourth chapter introduces us to the opposition against and persecution of the apostles and the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. What’s more is this opposition, this persecution and this threatening would be the direct result of a healing in Jesus’ name which would take place among them in the city of Jerusalem.

 

            “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought for you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:1-12).

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to bring to your mind the tremendous power surrounding the preaching of the gospel of Jesus and healing in the name of Jesus—both which took place in the days when the Jews and religious elite thought they had eradicated and destroyed the mention and remembrance of Jesus of Nazareth. How absolutely incredible it is that although they crucified Him the Holy Spirit raised Him from death to life and although they thought they had removed the memory and remembrance of His name from the earth both healing and preaching would take place in His name. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it would be in the realm of a work left unfinished and a work yet to begin the apostles and followers of Jesus of Nazareth would both preach in His name as well as heal in His name. It would be this healing in the name of Jesus and this preaching in the name that would so anger and enrage the religious community during the day and would bring to fulfillment that which the Lord Jesus proclaimed when He spoke of them being hated of all men for the sake of His name. Oh how absolutely incredible it is that the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit would indeed bring us face to face with healing and preaching in the name of Jesus and how eventually it would lead to those in Greece declaring how those who have turned the world upside down have now come here. In all reality I can’t help but read the words found in the fourth chapter and hear the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord emphatically declaring and commanding those during that generation—and not only those in that generation but also those in this present generation—to get ready and to prepare themselves for healing and preaching in the name of Jesus to ignite a raging firestorm in the earth. They thought they could crucify Him and bury Him in the earth. They thought they could silence His teaching and preaching. They thought they could cease His works and ministry in the earth. The Father had an answer to their misconceptions and futile attempts as He raised Jesus from death to life and received Him unto Himself and set Him down at the right hand of all power. Not only this but the Father would also send the promise of the Holy Spirit to embolden and raise up the apostles and followers of Jesus to go forth as witnesses who would teach in His name, preach in His name, and heal in His name. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are going to be the Church made up of those who will heal in the name of Jesus and who will preach in the name of Jesus thus continuing and carrying out the work he began and yet left unfinished.

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