It has been 6 years since I began to study the Bible, and I am so grateful that God continuously reveals so many beautiful connections to me throughout His Word. I have grown to understand that every book, in the Bible, from the first page of Genesis to the last page in Revelation are collectively the only Truth that you and I must have engraved within our hearts. With that being said, I realize that some people struggle with reading the Bible, and I am not here to judge the “whys’, but I feel a great responsibility placed on my heart to encourage you today to read Mark 13. If you’ve already read it many times, read it again, if you’ve never read it, please read it after this devotion. We all need to keep reading it over and over and over again, so we understand what Jesus is speaking about for our “future”, which many believe we are living in now.
Friends, our passage today is from Acts 4, but we need to recall what transpired in Acts 3 in order to understand where Peter and John find themselves, and I will do my best to connect their time and ours back to Mark 13.
So, in Acts 3 Peter and John went to the Temple for a 3 p.m. prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a crippled man (from birth) was being carried in and he was put at the Temple gate, where he would often beg. When Peter and John entered, the man asked them for money. Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (v.6) Then Peter took the man’s hand and “He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.” (v.8) Many people saw this and knew the man. So, Peter and John took this as an opportunity to witness about the saving love of Jesus. “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed – and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.” (v.16) “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (v.19-21)
That leads us up to today’s passage in Acts 4. So, when Peter and John were speaking to the people about Jesus after they healed the crippled man, they were confronted by all of the “head leaders” of the Temple. Basically, anyone who had some type of “religious” authority, fearfully came to confront these guys. Out of their own prideful fear, they arrested Peter and John. The next day some of the “head leaders” met and “They brought in the two disciples and demanded, ‘By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?’” (v.7) Here’s the cool part, so Peter and John already knew from Jesus that this would happen, it’s recorded for us within Mark 13, where during Jesus’ ministry He is speaking directly to these guys about what they will need to do when this happens. In Mark 13:11, Jesus told them, “But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Peter allows the Holy Spirit to speak, and the Spirit through Peter reminds these religious leaders of their sin, and of the authority by which the miracle was done, and it was by the Name of Jesus, the One whom they crucified. The cripple man who was raised to walk, was healed by the power of Jesus who was raised up from death.
Friends, when you read Mark 13, please keep in mind that Jesus’ teachings, warnings, and every piece of His Word was (for that time), is (for our time), and will (for time to come) remain the Truth. The Word is active and alive, because Jesus is alive, and His Holy Spirit is active and alive within us. So, since we know the end of the story (the book of Revelation), our hearts need to remain prepared with what He tells us will happen in the Future (READ MARK 13).
Acts 4:1-12 NLT
Peter and John before the Council
1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. 2 These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. 3 They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. 4 But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of men who believed now totaled about 5,000.
5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being our guide and for revealing to us what is to come. Help us to lay down our sins and our earthly desires at Your feet, and to truly pick up our crosses and move forward with You. Be our wisdom, Lord, and give us spiritual eyes, spiritual ears, and allow Your spirit to take control of our souls. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.