then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”
As Jeremiah watched Jerusalem fall and was marching as an exile to Babylon, he was given a reprieve – the opportunity to return to his beloved Jerusalem and be protected by the Babylonian-appointed governor, Gedalia.
Life was good for the remaining Judeans under Gedalia’s leadership. The small remnant was allowed to sow the many fields that were abandoned. They gathered in “great abundance” (Jer. 40:12).
But there was an uprising of those from the royal line of Judah that would not accept God’s plan for welfare. They opposed God’s will and murdered the Babylonian governor, Gedalia.
Why? Why do we have to take matters into our own hands instead of trusting in the ways of God? We’ll read tomorrow that this initial opposition was the catalyst for the complete destruction of the small remnant in Judah.
Peter and John also faced opposition in today’s reading from Acts. Once again, the opposition comes from the Jewish elite, the ruling leaders of the Jewish council. They questioned Peter and John concerning the healing of the lame beggar… “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
This was the same ruling council that conspired to kill Jesus, had him arrested, and held clandestine night trials – convicting Jesus to death. These men were certainly not sympathetic to the new Christian cause!
But this did not deter Peter from boldly proclaiming the truth!
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well” (Acts 4:8-10).
Wow. Peter was bold. The council warned them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. How would Peter and John react in the face of such opposition? We’ll read tomorrow that they would turn toward God instead of oppose God as the small remnant of Judeans did.
God’s ways are always best, and typically, amazing things happen when you follow God despite opposition… But we’ll read more about that tomorrow :)