God's Power on Display in His Church
Moving on from Acts 10, we come to a moment in history where the early Church was being attacked. There was intense persecution, unfair imprisonment and genocide. There was apprehension and no certainty for the future of the early Church. All the leaders were being locked up or killed. There was a clear adversary. King Herod (not to be mistaken with his grandfather who was the king when Jesus was born). But a greater adversary worked behind the scenes. The devil used leaders like Herod to persecute the early Church.
Yet through it all, God’s power was on display in two shockingly meek ways as we find in Acts 12:1-19. As pastor Febby discussed, let’s look into how God’s power appears in his church.
God’s power was displayed through prayer
The attacks on the early Church took place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (v3); otherwise known as Passover, when the Israelites were delivered by the Lord. Yet at a time where the Israelites were to celebrate deliverance, Peter was captured and sent to prison, awaiting execution. When the early Church heard the news, they prayed earnestly (v5)... and how powerful were their prayers. The prayers of a small group of faithful people is where God’s power can shine. As it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
There is power in prayer, especially if we pray as a church. God would use the church today, like he did the early church, if we had the same amount of faith in God’s extraordinary power and commitment to continuous prayer. It was obvious the prayers of the early Church were being heard and answered. Peter, the night before his execution, was deeply sleeping (v6). Only a man so full of the Spirit and a peace “which transcends all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7) could sleep so soundly. We too should be praying as a church, desiring to display God’s power to the adversarial powers and authorities in the spiritual realm.
God’s power was displayed through someone less
Like it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, God would choose the foolish to shame the wise; the weak to shame the strong. The author of Acts, Luke, often wrote stories that featured “weak” people as witnesses. In Acts 12, he writes that a young servant woman is the first to hear and see of Peter’s release. Not only was she advantaged by being a woman, but by being young and a servant. Contrast that with King Herod who’s been made into a fool. God has a long history of choosing people who appear weaker, like Samuel, David and particularly children. During his ministry, Jesus even says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” There’s a reason they call it child-like faith.
As adults, we become skeptical from disappointments and enslaved by our own thoughts which can lessen our faith in God’s power. But like children, we must have faith as a church, devoting ourselves, as a congregation, to prayer and trusting that God uses all people in his church.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing the foolish to shame the wise; for choosing the small to shame the strong. Thank You that You would display Your awesome and mighty power through Your church. I pray that as a Church we would be fit for Your calling.
In Jesus’ name I pray,