It is the second Sunday of Easter!
Many are wondering what that means…why is that important? Isn’t Easter over?
Easter is just beginning. As we talked about last week, Jesus is Risen and if we believe that He is Risen, then something has to change.
So, what do we do now? What is next?
Well, we can’t go backward…we can walk away as many of the people following Jesus did. We can simply walk away from following. We can walk away from serving. We can walk back to the life before we met Him…and remain unchanged. OR we can MOVE FORWARD!
What does it mean to move forward?
Let’s look at what it meant for the disciples. But first, let’s think of who these men are. They are ordinary people. They aren’t anything extraordinary by the world’s standards. They don’t hold positions of power. They are not in the elite group. They are not the ‘people to know’. They are ordinary men that have been chosen by God. To the world, that means nothing.
They have fled as Jesus was being crucified. Peter has denied. When He needed them most, they left Him. Bravery is not their number one trait apparently. They were scared of the religious leaders and of the people. You need to hear today that they are not particularly skilled speakers…not brave warriors…not political powerhouses. These men are normal, everyday, ordinary people who have been chosen by God.
Let’s look in Acts to see what is going on with these ordinary men. Acts 5:27-33.
What has happened to these ordinary men? I want us to look at two things that these men are doing…
First, they are PROCLAIMING…
What does that mean? They are getting the message of Jesus out to the people. They are speaking words of life. They are giving the people the message that they need to hear regardless of the circumstances or outcomes.
When they are addressed by the high priest and the captains and leaders, they were direct and let them know exactly where they stood. Specifically, we know what Peter said. He told them about what they were doing and what the religious leaders had done…but most importantly what God had done.
This is the same man who denied Jesus to a young girl not too much earlier. He is not standing before authority with words like they are not accustomed to hearing. He is proclaiming the word…the message…life.
Second, they are MAINTAINING…
They know the truth. The puzzle is finally put together for them. The things that Jesus had taught them and they truths that He had been giving them all begin to come together and make sense. They get it!
Now that they get it, they aren’t going to back down just because the leaders have told them to keep quiet. They were given a choice. The religious leaders have already told them to be quiet. Not to proclaim the name of Jesus. They are told not to teach in that name. They had Him hung on a cross so they could get rid of Him. They don’t want to hear His name again.
The disciples could have said…Ok – we understand…we will go back to our homes and we will have little groups that can meet there. But that isn’t what God told them to do. They have a choice…they can follow God or they can follow these men.
They choose to follow God and proclaim the name of Jesus right in the courtyard and then proclaim it right before the leaders themselves. They are maintaining that what they have seen and heard is truth and that they will let everyone know about it!
What is so different about these men?? Why the change?
We know they saw the power of God. They saw Jesus crucified. They saw Him raised from the dead. Jesus is alive! Jesus is RISEN and that means something to them!
We know that they are putting it all together. They have been told all of these things by Jesus so much but now they are beginning to put together all they have been taught. They are beginning to understand who Jesus really is and what that means.
We also know that they are filled with the POWER of the Holy Spirit! Jesus promised them a helper. He promised them power from on high. He gave it to them. And they listened and followed God.
Finally, we know that they chose God rather than men. They chose to follow the One True God! They weren’t willing to go back…they were moving forward.
WOW! God did amazing things in the lives of those ordinary men. Do you think God is done doing amazing things in the lives of ordinary people? I don’t think so! I know He will continue to do amazing things…The question is whether you are willing for Him to use you. He is God and can do all things. Are you ready for what’s next? Or will you just turn away and follow man?