Seeing The Bigger Picture: Acts 4:23-38
“23) When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24) And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25) who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples devise futile things? 26) The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27) For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28) to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭23‬-‭28‬
Upon being released from the Council, they went to their companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When you squeeze the text about the meaning of the word “they”, something beautiful emerges. The broader context indicates that Peter and John were accompanied by the former beggar when they stood before the Council. He was most likely included in the word “they.” This reunion included the healed beggar meeting his new family for the first time as a believer. He was being assimilated into the family of God.
After reporting the warnings from the chief priests and elders to their companions, the group with one accord lifted their voices to God. They didn’t call a committee meeting, instead they launched into a spontaneous prayer meeting. They were a praying church! They brought the matter to God.
This prayer meeting focused on two things. First, they focused on God and His extraordinary works. They called upon Him as the Lord who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all life forms that inhabit these three realms. They addressed Him as both Creator and Supreme Lord. Instead of focusing on the size of their opposition, they zeroed in on the immensity of God.
This point should not be minimized. Like Joshua and Caleb, they measured their opposition by the size of God. This is the starting point of prevailing faith. Make God and not your external circumstances your focus.
Second, they focused on the Word of God and its prophetic significance to their situation. In their case, the Holy Spirit brought Psalm 2:1-2 into focus. They understood that biblical prophecy was unfolding in front of them. They were actors in a drama much bigger than their immediate problems. Divine Providence had written the script. Gods plan of human redemption was being fulfilled.
This is always the case. We are involved in a story much bigger than ourselves. We may not understand our circumstances, but faith recognizes that God is at work behind them. It is crucial to yield ourselves to the greater plans and purposes of God.
I will resist the temptation of going on a tangent, but current events today are very similar to the days of the early church. They were key actors in the first advent of Christ and His birth, earthly ministry, death on the cross, resurrection, ascension and the beginning of the church age. The Holy Spirit helped them perceive the greater spiritual and prophetic climate unfolding around them.
By contrast, we are standing on the threshold of the second return of Christ and all the prophecies related to the end times. Things are happening in our world today of Epic proportions. We are also part of a prophetic story much greater than ourselves. It is crucial for the church today to again cry out to God for grace, power and understanding. You are not an island unto yourself. Let me emphasize again, we are part of a much bigger story. We have come full circle. Current events are again major prophetic events. It is crucial that we set our focus on God and His Word. We need to adopt a biblical world view that includes the signs of the times unfolding around us.
It is important that we learn from the early church. We need to pray like they prayed… and in the days to come we will need to discover the importance of Christian community. The book of Acts contains vital insights for our days.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global