In the very early days of the church, there was a boldness of sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ (His death, burial, and resurrection). Peter was the first to preach to the crowds, calling the people to a time of repentance and belief in Jesus. When he preached, many people gave their hearts and lives to Jesus. Because it was the early establishment of the church, the Apostles were able to heal and do many great things. One of the first was when Peter and John went to the Temple and healed a lame man in the name of Jesus. Not only was he healed, but this man also praised God for this healing. When the people heard what happened to the lame man, they came and heard a message from Peter where he said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out …” (Acts 3:19a). Repent means “to think differently; to feel compunction (a feeling of guilt that follows doing something wrong).” There had to be a change.
However, read the religious leaders’ reaction to this preaching of Jesus. “2. Being grieved that they taught the people … 3. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day…” (Acts 4:2-3). Because the religious leaders did not like what Peter and John preached, Peter and John were arrested. Nevertheless, recognize that many other people believed the Gospel message. “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
When the religious leaders challenged Peter and John, asking why they taught Jesus, read what Peter said. “10. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole … 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10, 12). (Remember that “this man stand here before you whole” was the man who was previously lame that had been sitting at the Temple gate.) When Peter and John spoke this boldly for Jesus, claiming there was no other name by which anyone could be saved, see what the religious leaders who did not believe in Jesus recognized. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). The religious leaders were amazed that these men (remember they were fishermen) could speak like this. They recognized that these men had been with Jesus. Moreover, because of the lame man that had been healed, they could not deny the truths these men taught – but they did not want the name of Jesus spread. Therefore, they commanded Peter and John not to speak of Jesus any more. Their response? “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). They were going to continue to preach Jesus and His resurrection.
After being released from prison (see Acts 4:23), they returned to the other Believers, praying and rejoicing, thanking God for what He had done. “… And they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31b).
Take notice that these men were bold as they taught the people of salvation that is only given by Jesus. They remembered what Jesus had taught them. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). After Jesus died, was buried, rose from the dead, and then ascended back into heaven, they began to understand. They had witnessed these important events and taught the people because Jesus told them to go and “… be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8b).
Does anyone share the Gospel message of Jesus’ salvation in our world today? If the message of repentance is shared, does anyone respond? What is a Christian to do in this world today? The Bible message has not changed. The only way to have life is to believe in Jesus for salvation. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Why do we not see many people saved? “18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:18-19). They do not believe.
Have you repented and then believed in Jesus for salvation? Have you told anyone about Jesus?