Fourth Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 4: 8-12
To make sense of this Reading, it would be helpful to look back at the events which go just before it - from the beginning of Chapter 3.
Unable to offer him any money, Peter has offered something far greater and healed a cripple by calling on the name of Jesus.
Understandably, this causes commotion - and it is easy to imagine the scene - Peter and John with the newly healed man struggling to work out how to find his balance - people gathering round - running to pass the news on to others... It is no wonder that it came to the attention of the Temple authorities. First on the scene had been the Sadducees who did not believe in any resurrection from the dead - let alone of someone crucified. Inevitably, Peter and John were arrested.
The next day, they were brought before the elders and scribes - among them Annas and Caiaphas who had been among those who had Jesus condemned.
Far from being overwhelmed or intimidated by their presence, Peter breathes in deeply of the Holy Spirit and again finds powerful and uncompromising words. The miracle healing has happened through the name of the man they had had crucified - Jesus the Nazarene. As in his life, so in his death, the power of the name of Jesus has power to heal.
The one that they had rejected was proving to be greater than any one among them.
The evidence was too great to be denied - someone known to be cripple for years was all too obviously now standing alongside those who had cured him. The elders knew it was impossible to suppress the news - so instead, instructed the disciples not to do anything else in the name of Jesus...
History shows their response to that instruction!
What does this mean for me?