As we learned, the once cowering band of disciples, now filled with the Holy Spirit, preached repentance and faith in the resurrection of Jesus in Acts 2:1-47. Peter with the others, whom we consider the first Christian servants, started to get traction, growing the numbers of disciples exponentially. Attending daily temple, this band of upstarts did not go unnoticed by the Jewish religious leaders of the day. Peter and John were imprisoned for their beliefs. After witnessing the courage of both Peter and John, the Jews became aware of their unschooled, orderly disposition; astonished, they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
How do you react to something that threatens the status quo? The higher powers of the world try to suppress it… or better yet, destroy it. The civil rights movement is a classic example of vision through non-violence, and faith in the power of God to overcome the suffering and intolerance of the established system of the time. It is the modern, timeless example of what a man of faith can do, powered by the Holy Spirit.
These once-fisherman were now living fully in the Spirit, and performed many miraculous signs and wonders. More and more people began to believe in the Resurrection. The Holy Spirit began to truly prove its purpose as the One to transform lives on earth. All efforts to silence their works failed. The only option was to kill then. Dead men don’t talk, as the old saying goes.
The spirit of God can never be thwarted. The great teacher Gamaliel spoke to the Jewish Sanhedrin, the leaders of the day, saying, “Therefore in the present case I advise you: leave these men alone. Let them go, for if their purpose of activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men. You will only find yourself fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39
In fairness to the leaders of the time, they used due diligence. Many people had come before Jesus, proclaiming to be the promised Messiah. As the wise words of Gamaliel suggest, if it were not of God, it will die out. As we can see 2,000 years later, from this small band of men, the Gospel has spread everywhere. Nothing can contain it. Not even the most zealous opponent of the early church, Saul of Tarsus, whom we shall study next, could suppress the rapid-spreading wildfire of the glorious Holy Spirit. We are not called to be God’s attorneys. We are called to be God’s witnesses. The Spirit is your personal testimony to the great work of God.