Today’s Reading: Acts 4:17 (NIV)
17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.
We used to play the telephone game at Vacation Bible School. Do you remember playing it? The children would all sit in a circle. The leader would start by whispering a short phrase into the ear of the child on their right. That child would then whisper the phrase to the next person, and continuing on until everyone had a chance to hear and convey the secret message. The leader would then announce the message as she originally said it, and the last child who received the message would speak the words she heard whispered in her ear. Do you think the messages matched? This game was used to teach a point about how we listen, filter and convey information to others. Have you ever tried to share a little truth but just didn’t seem to get it right?
This happens quite often on the worldwide web. I will receive a chain email, conveying what the sender believes to be a piece of important public information. It may pertain to some health issue or an important safety measure. Unfortunately, the message may be from a dishonest person trying to make a fast buck with a phishing scam. Not long after that first message is received, I often see a retraction with a personal apology from its sender, stating that the information forwarded was inaccurate. Has this ever happened to you?
The name of Jesus had become a household word among the Jews in Jerusalem. If you lived the city, you knew about the man who had spent the last three years of his life traveling from village to village, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead to life. The Romans tried to stop all the Jesus gossip by killing him. They thought if they just eliminated the source, eventually all the gossip would cease and folks would lose interest in His name. The Sanhedrin didn’t know what to make of the new “Jesus” development. All of sudden, people like Peter and John were speaking the name of Jesus and crippled men were up walking around! There is wonder-working power in the name of Jesus! The Sanhedrin presumed the only way they could stop this new Jesus phenomenon was to forbid people from speaking His name out loud.
When we say Jesus’ name, we speak the Truth. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. We somehow think our culture has evolved and changed from past generations. We look at these words written over two thousand years ago and wonder how they could possibly apply to our lives today. Take a closer look! Diversity teaches there are many ways to find God. If we speak Christ’s name, we are no longer respecting others’ belief systems, and we wouldn’t want to offend our neighbors. We are admonished not to speak the name of Jesus in our public schools or even in the workplace. And yet, His name is the only name that bears truth. People are saved and healed every day in Jesus’ name! We must learn not to hesitate to speak His name out loud, because Jesus Christ is the Lord of all.
What will you choose to do with the name of Jesus today?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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