The Beat Goes On

22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. [1]

 

Sonny and Cher made popular a song in 1967, “The Beat Goes On,” meaning that life moves on regardless of whether or not you choose to go with it.  The Sadducees in our text this morning weren’t quite ready to acknowledge that. They could barely tolerate the Pharisees, who spoke of future resurrection, but they absolutely could not, would not pick up what Peter and company were laying down about this prophet already being raised up.  For the Sadducees, the Pharisaic doctrine of the resurrection was only a theoretical hope for the future. But according to this apostolic witness from Peter, one person had already been raised proclaiming that the resurrection had indeed been inaugurated, and that the Sadducees could not abide.

Peter and John’s arrest was more or less, all in a day’s work of being witnesses to the resurrection.  Five thousand new believers resulted and that probably didn’t include the women and children.  What did they believe in?  They believed that Jesus indeed had been raised from the dead so that they could now turn from their wickedness, their sin.

There’s power in the gospel.  Sometimes we tend to coddle people when speaking to them about Christ, thinking they can’t handle the message that we are all wicked and the only solution to our wickedness is to turn from our wickedness and believe the good news that Christ died and rose from the dead, cancelling out our sins and putting us in right standing with God.

Thank God that Peter and John didn’t coddle the audience or let the possibility of being arrested and ridiculed stop them from a day’s work.  Over 5000 people’s lives were marvelously transformed by the simplicity and the power of the gospel message.  The beat goes on.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 3:22–4:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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