22 April 2017
The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer.
So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.
Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them.
But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him. After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’
It is impossible not to speak about what we have seen and heard
Recently, United Airlines came under fire for the way it had manhandled one of its paying passengers, when the airline tried to bump him off the plane due to their overbooking the flight. Videos taken by the other passengers showed the man, limp and impassive, being dragged down the aisle by enforcement officers, with his clothes disheveled and glasses askew and later on, images surfaced of the same man with a bloodied mouth. The news spread like wildfire on social media, and became a PR nightmare (no less also from the way the airline initially responded).
The appalling treatment of this passenger resonated so strongly with our moral compass that it became hard for us not to speak up about it, to stand in solidarity with what was right and just. It need not be a negative occurrence — we love sharing light-hearted stories too. Remember the BBC interview when the interviewee’s two children video-bombed his interview?
The point is that when something that we have seen and heard interests us, we feel the need to share it. Likewise with Peter and John, who said it was impossible not to share what they had seen and heard. This was, however, something much bigger than just gossip or hearsay. This was about the Messiah, that had been described for so long in scripture, which was now actually happening; in their lifetime! Not to mention all the miracles that Jesus had performed and how he had resurrected from the dead. Why would they not share such a wondrous event?
Peter had also pointed out that we are witnesses. As witnesses, we are called to give testimony on what transpires. We affirm things that have taken place, and our account puts to rest any speculation or rumour since we have seen and heard it ourselves. Peter and the disciples aren’t the only witnesses — we too are witnesses of God’s love and mercy in this day. Our own acceptance of our Saviour and the death of our old self is testimony that God is merciful and gives us a new life in Christ. The very things that God does in our lives, be it in the smallest of ways, are proof that God is present everywhere. We are not called to doubt and question when these events happen; we are called to give testimony of God’s great power so that through us, others may believe. When others believe, God is able to work more through their lives. Not sharing our faith means that we turn off the tap, and God, who is the water of life, is not able to flow and work through us.
When we accept Christ, we are called to be witnesses of Christ. Let us renew our testimony this Easter, that God may continue to work His miracles through us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for courage to give testimony on the works You have done in our lives.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for all the miracles that You work in our lives, small or big. We appreciate all the little miracles that you bring forth, and we pray for wisdom to recognize them.