Have you ever been greatly annoyed? Of course you have! It’s human nature. Sometimes such feelings are justified; usually they are not. We read today in Acts 4 of a group of people who were greatly annoyed. Why?
Chapter 3 tells us of a most remarkable healing, a man over 40 years of age who had been lame from birth and had to be carried around. All the people knew him because his friends brought him to the gate of the temple every day. There he received alms from generous hearted people, he was someone everyone knew.
Peter and John go up to the temple at the hour of prayer (3pm) and cause a remarkable healing to occur to this man: this creates a great stir and they have a tremendous opportunity to preach. The rest of the chapter summarises what was preached and the message has lost none of its power as we read it today! Chapter 4 starts,
“As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple came upon them”.
They are “greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead and they arrested them and put them in custody” (verses 1,2). “It was already evening” (at least 6pm) so what a remarkable 3 hours that had been in the temple precincts.
Why were these ‘high powered’ men so greatly annoyed? They were “astonished” the next day at their “boldness” (verse 13). Not just those who arrested them but all the other high powered figures who came together (elders, rulers & scribes and the whole high priestly family, verses 5-6) to seek a way to deal with Peter and John.
Their boldness is in total contrast to about 2 months previously at the time Jesus was arrested. The great annoyance of the ‘authorities’ was because of the way they had captured the attention of 1,000s of people, worse still it took place in their domain of prestige – the Temple.
The ‘powerhouse’ of Christ’s message had now been launched on the world, and the world has never been the same since. It seems that each Century has had equivalents of these annoyed people who have tried to dim that powerhouse: equally as bad, others have corrupted its true force and preached a misleading message – such as saying people go to heaven when they die. But the Bible is now in every language for all to read and, depending how they read, to feel stirred to the heart, as happened then. People are either stirred, think it is rather interesting, annoyed, or just indifferent. How does it affect you? How should it affect you?