Monday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 5:17-26

Concerning “This Life”

So it came to pass that on one occasion when the apostles were teaching the people, which had then grown to multitudes, and were performing signs and wonders, which further proved their word concerning the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, that the Sadducees, filled with jealousy, had them arrested and imprisoned.  But we read that during the night an angel arrived uninvited, unannounced, and unbeknownst to the guards and released them from their confinement.  Then the angel gave them very specific instructions: “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”  And at daybreak, the apostles did just that.

We read passages like this without reflecting on the courage of the apostles.  They knew very well what the council was capable of, for they had witnessed their Lord’s crucifixion.  Going right back to the temple after just having been arrested there the day before, having now escaped from prison and being thereby fugitives, and on top of all this, teaching the people in the temple which was the very activity they were engaged in at the time of arrest, … well, one might question the wisdom of returning!  But that’s what God said, and so that’s what they did.  It certainly seems that the apostles possessed a boldness and courage that is, quite frankly, stunning; we have just grown far too accustomed to reading of it.

And how could they have such courage, such boldness?  Well, we would certainly credit the Holy Spirit’s presence within them.  But I would like to highlight again what the angel commanded: “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”  Did you hear that?  “All the words of this Life.”  And I like the way the ESV capitalizes “Life.”  And to what does “this Life” refer?  Eternal life, abundant life, new life, godly life, Spirit-filled life.  Regeneration is all about receiving this kind of “Life.”  Indeed, the Christian life is the only true life, for the Christian knows the truth which has set him free; that is, freedom from the guilt of sin and freedom the power of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Or to say it another way, only the Christian truly has life within because he has been made a partaker of Christ’s resurrection, presently.  Everyone else is living a false life, for God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him (Augustine, Confessions 1).  And because the apostles were partakers of “this Life,” the things of this world seemed hollow and even unreal compared to the real glory beyond.  So yes, the apostles were brave and bold, because they had Life within.  And so do we.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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