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Week 2 July 2024, Devotion Part 2

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.  Acts 4:13

So why the fury and fascination of gathered ecclesiastical aristocracy? They believed Christ to be dead and done with. Yet Peter and John had just healed a cripple in His name. People heaped joyous praise on God! The two went on to rattle the nerves of their 71 prestigious jailers with a stinging personalized quote from Psalm 118 that Jesus had applied to Himself: The stone rejected by you builders has become the very corner stone! Even as the tables were turned on the accusers and they got an earful, there was clear visual impact of the disciples’ boldness. By contrast, it took some mental calculating to peg their commonplace background and ponder the incongruities.

 So what did the Sanhedrin see? Two blue-collar workers putting on a spirited defense that took their breath away. It was scriptural and to the point, and their contention did have the proverbial leg to stand on. The man who had been lame from birth stood at their side, fleshing out the spoken word that testified to the Living Word. The presence of the risen Nazarene was palpable! Where are the public accolades of the close-mouthed churchgoers of today? The bold Jesus longs to escape the dull decorum of our safe, private piety. He is lusting for a good show and the world is game for it. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: The “sages” (per Talmud) sat stony-faced in the “Chamber of Hewn Stones,” located in the fabled Second Temple.  Presumably, the jail was made by the local low bidder, not Herod the Great’s builders.  Peter and John were arrested in the evening, but judgements involving life and death had to begin by daylight in the morning and concluded before dusk. After the apostles had delivered their stinging reference to the living Stone “hewn” from God Himself, the council briefly switched from speaking Aramaic to Hebrew.  Literary license allows me to say this, because the accused and the former cripple were then escorted out of the Chamber, so their fate could be freely discussed.  The latter may have decided to take his amazing new legs for a spin on the nearby grounds.  His new friends might have yawned in noisy tandem, with Peter blurting out, “I’m bushed,” and John chiming in, “I’m so starved I could eat a horse.”  After all, they were both quintessential Galileans, given to earthy speech and a dialect that was despised by the snobbish elitists who spoke proper rabbinical Aramaic. When ushered back into the Chamber, they received their classy tongue lashing that starkly threatened punishment if they did not stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus.  “Fat chance,” the former fishermen would have said back home, but here in cultured Jerusalem the apostles spoke with the Holy Spirit’s signature boldness that had dumbfounded their jailers in the morning.  “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,” they said and oddly enough, the “sages” heard it in their own preferred language. What’s more, the voice of the disciples’ former Rabboni sounded in their ears and stung them with His judgement.  Acts 4

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I was not aware of the Sanhedrin switching their speech from Aramaic to Hebrew (as you have mentioned here), but then they did think very highly of themselves with their noses and attitudes in the air. I guess we all have an attitude, by insisting everyone in our country speak English only. It is the superior language, right?

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