Every person can know God’s power by looking at the evidence in this passage.
A visitor was once walking along a high part of the shore of the Dead Sea when he lost his balance and fell into the water. He could not swim and, in desperation he began to fling his arms about. At last he was exhausted and felt he could do no more. The he found something had had not known: the water bore him up. The water of the Dead seas is so heavy with salt and other minerals that when the lay still in it he found he floated on the surface. He could not drown so long as he resigned himself to the power of the deep.
The power that supported this man came from the salt and the minerals in the water. We have a God who possesses infinite power. Many times we fail to grasp what great power he has. I hope that each of us would be challenged to see the power of God in a new light as we look at the evidences presented in this passage.
Evidence I. Holy Spirit filled
A. Many years ago at a different church the High School graduates were being honored during the morning worship service. An elder who had recently died always did an amazing job of honoring those graduates. The person who was now in charge of that wanted to match what this man had done. So he decided that he would sing a special just before the graduates were introduced. It did not take long before everyone in the church realized that this man could not sing. Yet he wanted to do something to honor these graduates. It was not something that really fit him.
B. There are probably times when each one of us has really wished that we could do something. Maybe we wish we could sing a special. Maybe we want to be able to produce beautiful works of art, maybe we want to write beautiful poetry. We can probably all think of things we wish we could do. Maybe Peter was wishing he was a better speaker when he was asked to address these men. I believe it is safe for me to say that it was not Peter who was speaking. In v. 8 it says, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them.” Peter would not have been able to speak like he did if it was not for the Holy Spirit in this life. He needed to have the Holy Spirit in order to do what he did. Perhaps Peter and John were surprised by what was said. We know that the elders were surprised. It says in v. 13, “They saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished.” The elders realized that what Peter and John had said was extraordinary. It was something they did because they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
C. If we were to take the Holy Spirit out of this situation, would these men be able to do what they did? I don’t believe they would. They needed the Holy Spirit in order to speak as fluently as they did. The same is true for people still today. If we hear a Christian speaker and he seems to be very powerful in his speaking, perhaps it is the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. When we talk about a person coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, we want to make that the responsibility of the person who is witnessing. In reality it is the work of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life. I can’t make one person come to Christ. However, I can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and act in obedience. That is really what I need to do. The Holy Spirit needs to be the one to influence people.
D. We can all wish that we had abilities, but more important than wishing we need to be sensitive to God’s leading. The really comes down to that matter of drawing near to God. We want to get close to God so he can direct us. We need to get close to God so he can teach us. If we only rely on our own power we will find out how really powerless we are. However, if we rely on God’s power that is limitless.
Evidence II. God raised
A. When I spent a few weeks in Argentina we were working at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Much of the time I was there it was in the 80’s and 90’s. It was very hot during that time. But I could look up early in the morning before the clouds covered the peaks of the mountains and you could see snow covered peaks. It is very peculiar to be in pain because of the tremendous heat, but you can look and see snow not far away. The Andes Mountains were majestic from where we were. It was amazing to see what was there. When I consider how majestic these mountains were, my mind is carried to the God who created them. How incredible to consider that as huge and immovable these mountains are, we have a God who placed them there who is much more majestic than they are.
B. One brief statement is made about God in this passage. In v. 10 it says of Jesus Christ that God raised him from the dead. We are living in an amazing time. Doctors are able to do so many things with people who are sick or may even appear to be on the brink of death. But with our doctors there is a point of no return. There is a time when they can do nothing more for a person. In some cases if they were able to do something for a person they really would not have much of a life. I would say that Jesus spending two nights in a tomb would go way beyond that category of there is nothing we can do. Jesus was dead. There was nothing that the best doctors in the world would be able to do for Jesus. He was dead, he had been buried. It should have been the end of the story. That is when you take God out of the picture.
C. God is not limited by all of the same limitations that humans are limited by. So it was possible for God to bring Jesus out of the tomb and cause him to return to life. He was not limited by the human limitations that we are faced with. This should really give us some understanding of what a great God he is. He is able to do things that are simply not humanly possible. Even in the Bible the people who were raised from the dead got this because of the power of God. When the disciples prayed for people to live it was not something they did. It was something that God did.
D. It is very appropriate for us to realize what a powerful God we have. We need to look at that, recognize it, and rehearse it. We need to have times in our life when we are telling God how powerful he is. As we do that it is as much for our benefit as it is for the benefit of God.
Evidence III. Jesus Christ
A. Peter had the opportunity to really build himself up here. He could have told everyone that He healed this man all by himself. Instead he chooses to honor Jesus Christ and give him the credit. Peter was brought before these religious officials because a man he had contact with was healed. The religious leaders wanted to know how Peter was able to heal this man. Peter said “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . that this man stands before you healed.” Peter was not able to heal this man with his own strength and ability. He needed the strength of Jesus Christ in order to really accomplish this. Peter was nothing more than an instrument that Jesus was using. These same religious leaders had tried to kill Jesus Christ. They put him in a tomb and three days later he rose to life. Then he ascended into heaven. Even after Jesus was gone from the earth he was still stirring things up. Jesus was getting credit for healing this man. It must have seemed like nothing these religious leaders did was able to stop Jesus Christ.
B. The other evidence of Jesus power is in v. 12. Jesus was able to bring salvation. This must have been news to these religious leaders. They seemed to teach that people needed to do a certain amount of working in order to be saved. Jesus reminded that salvation came through a relationship. This was something that many in the Jewish community had lost sight of. We are not able to do enough good things in order to get to God. The only way to get to God is by having a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is a big part of the reason that Jesus came. He came so that all men could have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and included in that deal was the forgiveness of sins.
C. This is one evidence of Jesus’ power being demonstrated in Scripture. He did things throughout the Bible that Jesus was powerful. He was able to do things that were not humanly possible. He caused people to rise from the dead, he walked on water, he healed diseases and other disabilities, and he even fed large groups of people with a small amount of fish and bread. Now after he is dead and gone he is getting credit for healing a man. He is also getting recognition as the way of salvation. He this is something that no other man could do.
D. It is important for us to recognize how powerful Jesus Christ is. I believe that it is more important for us to realize that he is the only way to God. We can manufacture all kinds of different ways to get to God, but there is only one real way, and that is through Jesus Christ. Even as we get older in our Christian faith, we can convince ourselves that we need to do other things to get into God’s good graces. Our salvation is through a relationship with Jesus Christ and that alone. We can’t create our own salvation through other means.
It is good for us to realize what a powerful God we have. It is equally important for us to realize how this power can be ours when we belong to Jesus. He does not just hand this power out to certain people. He gives this power to people who belong to Him. He gives the power Christians who reside in him. If you are not a Christian Jesus wants you to come to Him.
If you are a Christians immerse yourself in God’s great power.