There was no stopping the apostles! They talked about Jesus wherever they went. When the Sadducees put them in jail, an angel of the Lord came during the night, opened the doors of the jail and led them out.
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”
When the captain and his officers found them they brought them before the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
“We must obey God rather than men!” exclaimed Peter and again he gave testimony of Jesus’ resurrection after the Jews crucified Him. This made the priests and Jewish leaders want to kill him, but Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, reminded them of Theudas who claimed to be somebody. About four hundred men rallied to him but he was killed, all his followers scattered and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean came during the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers dispersed. “Therefore, in this present case,” he said, “I advise you to leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or 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 yourselves fighting against God,” (Acts 5:28-39).
The apostle’s purpose was from God and today it is our purpose too. Although we might experience opposition, nothing can stop us from what God calls us to do.
In contrast to the apostles, a rich young man tried to live right. He obeyed the laws and followed the rules but he felt something was missing. He asked Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life. He must have thought that he could earn his way into the kingdom. Jesus’ merciful plan from the beginning was that He would lay down his life so that whoever believes in Him would not die in their sins but have eternal life. Why then did He say to the young man, “Go, sell all you have and give the money to the poor”? Simply because He knew if the young man surrendered everything that was important to him he would have to trust God. And that’s what Jesus wanted. The young man had to make a choice to trust himself or God. The Bible doesn’t really finish the story. Maybe it’s because it is a living story. What choice will we make?
Fame and Fortune:
During the Beatles popularity, John Lennon commented (2000 years after Christ), “Christianity will die someday. Christ was a great man but He wasn’t as famous as we are.” John died in his apartment without knowing Jesus. After one of Marilyn Monroe’s performances, Billy Graham visited her. Even though she was desperately lonely she said, “I don’t need your Jesus.” She died a week later in her apartment. Lord James Pirrie said when he built the Titanic, “Not even God can sink this!” He didn’t have to. An iceberg did. How God’s heart must have ached at the pride and arrogance of these people. He loved them with an unconditional and everlasting love, but they chose to reject Him.
God made man for His pleasure, but he gave him a choice – to choose God’s ways or his own ways. Adam and Eve chose their own ways and for too many years, so did I. The world has many distractions. For the rich young man it was his wealth. For others it is fame and fortune, and for still others it is sex, power or relationships. The list goes on and on. Yet God chose to lavish His love on us. When I was ready to give up, God met me at my deepest need, the need to know Him. He promised to stay with me; never would He leave me or forsake me. From the time I experienced God’s great love for me, I learned to depend on His faithfulness.
Our Heavenly Father did not create us to be self sufficient. His desire is for us to depend on Him for all we need. He will take care of us. Once we experience His extravagant love and care, how could we choose to trust ourselves or anything in this world over eternity with Him?