REACTIONS TO THE GOSPEL

Scripture Reading:  Acts 4:1-4

“And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead…But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”  (Acts 4:1-2,4)

The message of the gospel evokes reactions.  One cannot truly remain neutral to it.  After the healing of the lame beggar, Peter preached the gospel to the crowd who saw the lame beggar walking, leaping and praising God (3:12-26).  Peter preached Christ to them pointing to the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him:  “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, has been fulfilled” (3:18).  Peter concluded his sermon by pointing to the resurrection of Jesus:  “God, having raised up His servant, sent Him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” (3:26).  

We are told about two reactions from the people who heard the sermon.  First, the religious leaders were greatly annoyed.  They were annoyed because Peter and John were teaching the people without their approval.  The Sadducees were especially annoyed because Peter and John were teaching about the resurrection.  The sadducees did not believe in a resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:6-8).  The gospel can be annoying to people who have been steeped in religion because the gospel is about the grace of God and not about human performance.

The second response is amazing:  “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand” (v. 4).  The Holy Spirit opened the eyes of these people and caused them to be born again.  As a result they believed the message of the gospel and put their faith in Jesus Christ.  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Lord Jesus, I am so thankful that You suffered and died for me and that on the third day You were raised from the dead.  I am grateful that the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart and gave me the gift of faith.

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