Come together…

Acts 4:23-31

And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David  have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,

And the people plot vain things?

The kings of the earth took their stand,

And the rulers were gathered together

Against the LORD and against His Christ.’

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together  to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,  by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

When attacked they came together and prayed.  When we experience spiritual warfare our immediate response should be likewise.  Call fellow believers together and pray.  Their prayers recognized first the sovereignty of God, then remembered what he had done.  They acknowledged the threats then asked for intervention from the Lord as they indicated their intent to continue to spread his Word.  The response from God was to fill them once more with his Spirit and enable them to continue to speak his Word with boldness.  We have the same promise.  The scriptures share with us their  situation along with their response.  We can apply the same today.  We too are not exempt from spiritual warfare and it comes from all directions.  When we find ourselves in that place we too can come together for support, and turn collectively toward the One who can intervene and empower.  “they spoke the word of God with boldness.”  We too can speak with boldness the word of God.

The ugly side of human nature…

John 7:45-53

Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”

The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”

Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night,  being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

 Human nature’s ugly side is evident.  Judging prior to seeking the facts, name-calling when opposed or called on a possible erroneous statement or action rather than rebutting with  well-thought out, researched responses are common to the human species.  This is a picture of what still goes on today within and without our Christian circles.  It is a malady that affects both religious and secular groups.  The leadership of the Jews in this passage has taken on the very same image of the mob action they accuse any who respond to Jesus of having. 

They base their own response to him on their own lack of knowledge and assumptions.  Jesus was ‘from’ heaven, but his earthly beginnings were Bethlehem, the home of David, and his earthly lineage was of the house of David, which is why his mother, Mary, was in Bethlehem for his birth.  A clear example of basing a judgment against Jesus on facts they do not have and assumptions they make because he was raised later on in Galilee.

They return Nicodemus’ suggestion that they might be guilty of judging someone before the usual trial process allowing for a hearing and the appropriate research into facts surrounding the accusations, with a slur on Nicodemus’ heritage.

Judging another without seeking all the information, based only on what is seen or heard from another is an ongoing Christian activity in many of our circles and churches.  Christ warned specifically against this and yet much hurt is given and received by these actions in places where support and prayerful understanding should be found.  The slurs and name-calling are a common occurrence in today’s comments on-line, in the news or in daily conversations, even in our Christian groups where one would hope to find restraint and examples of love and concern.  Let’s be careful not to be participants in either of these activities, for it does not show the love of Christ for others, it does not show the self-control and restraint called for in the epistles as examples of those who have a personal connection with the Lord.