This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. What a delight to meet you again here to share a short time of reflection together. Whether you are here for the first time or a regular listener, may I welcome you in the name of our gracious and wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May His grace and peace fill you today and always.
We are again at the beginning of another month. Time seems to pass by so fast. They say that as one grows older, time passes by faster. Just as Psalm 90:12 advises us to, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” May I recommend that you read Psalm 90 and ponder on its wise words of time and life.
Prayer of the Week
5th Sunday of Easter
Saving God, who called your Church to witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us so to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be reconciled to you; through him who died for us and rose again and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Our Bible Reading for today is taken from Acts 4:1-20
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Courage to witness
Have you ever been scared to share your Christian faith? I have. Jesus taught his disciples that they should be his witnesses to the ends of the earth and that they would be hated and persecuted because of him. Now it has happened! Peter and John were under arrest by the Sanhedrin – perhaps eerily similar to what happened to their beloved Lord not too long before.
Under the intimidating presence and questioning of the most powerful authority in the land, Peter and John stood their ground and did not back down…. How could they refuse to talk about Jesus? How could they obey men rather than God? They couldn’t and they wouldn’t. Why? Why such resilient? What gave them such courage in the face of the threat of prison, torture, or even death?
Peter gives us the only reason that matters: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Their lives changed because they experienced the transformational power of salvation through Jesus. They have one mission in life – to share this good news (gospel) with the whole world as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8.
Something remarkable has transformed cowardly Peter and timid John. Their courage astonished the authorities who saw that they are but uneducated peasants. Fishermen from outback Galilee. However, they quickly realised one thing that is uniquely powerfully. Peter and John had been with Jesus.
It is often said that the company you keep shapes the person you will become. This is true of spending time with your friends and family and also true of our time with Christ. The authorities can see Jesus’ character imprinted in Peter and John.
If you feel scared, underqualified, underprepared, or overwhelmed, this devotion is for you. God can always do more through you than you expect. It is not education, knowledge, experience, background, wealth, position, or political influence that makes you competent or qualified to do great things for God. Rather, it is time spent with Jesus that makes you ready for His purposes. Spend time connecting with Jesus every day and God will make you ready for all He wants to do through you!
Does your life reflect your time spent with your Lord Jesus in prayer and Bible reading? Does the way you act around your family, friends, and colleagues reflect Christ’s nature in you? What priorities in your life that you need to change so that you are able to spend better and more consistent time with your Lord? Can people see Jesus in you? You can be like Peter and John of Acts 4.
The Morning Collect
O Thou who alone knowest what lies before me this day. Grant that in every hour of it I may stay close to Thee. Let me be in the world, yet not of it. Let me use this world without abusing it. If I buy, let me be as though I possess not. If I have nothing, let me be as though possessing all things. Let all the undertakings I embark on today be in line with Thy will for my life. Let me not shrink from any sacrifice which Thou may demand. Suggest, direct, control every movement of my mind; for my Lord and Saviour’s sake. Amen.
May the Lord of His great mercy bless you, and give you understanding of His wisdom and grace;
May He nourish you with the riches of the Catholic Faith, and make you to persevere in all good works;
May He keep your steps from wandering, and direct you into the paths of love and peace;
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
Thank you for our time together. Looking forward to be with you again next week. In the meantime, do good. Love outrageously. Enjoy life. Praise God. Amen. Goodbye.
 A Diary of Private Prayer, Baillie, John; Oxford University Press, 1936. (Day 4)
 Southwark Diocese