Christ is risen!
Confrontation is not fun. In fact, most studies show that, when given a choice, most folks prefer to avoid confrontation. And that is because confrontation isn’t usually a pleasurable experience.
But confrontation and conflict are necessary to grow and mature. This has been my experience with most of the confrontations I have seen in my own life. While never enjoyable, they have usually proved informative and positive for my maturity and self-knowledge. But, then again, it all depends on your perspective.
In our readings today we see the Apostles transformed by the Holy Spirit into men no longer afraid to publicly declare their loyalty and love for the Risen Jesus Christ. In fact, their message was really causing aggravation to the religious leaders of their day, and they had them arrested. Unpleasant confrontation! “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” Acts 4:1-10
Notice two important insights into this confrontation.
First, the Apostles were living resurrection life. This particular confrontation was a result of the apostles ministering to the sick and the sick being healed. When the apostles were asked about the healing, they boldly proclaimed it was through the Resurrected Lord Jesus that this man was healed. In other words, they were simply living in the daily reality of Christ defeating death and this brought their lives into conflict with those still gripped by the power of death.
Our confrontations about our faith should never be the result of trying to be controversial, but by us simply living our lives as if the Resurrection really happened! Which, of course, it did!
Second, the Apostles were emboldened by the truth. Now, once our faith in the resurrection bring us into conflict, and it will dear ones, then we cannot remain silent. Silence, in the face of those who are still gripped by the power of death is both unfaithful and unloving. But our words must always be focused on directing these persons to Christ and on our heart’s desire to see even our enemies set free from the power of death by faith in the resurrection.
Today, let your faith, your new life in Christ, shine so others can find their way out of the darkness of the fear of death, and ask the Holy Spirit to embolden you to speak the words of freedom to all who are enslaved by death, starting first and foremost with your own life.