New Life

12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought those who were ill into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were ill and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. 17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 ‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people all about this new life’ … 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.  (Acts 5:12-20&42)
 

10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water … 14 Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ (John 4:10&14)
 
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
A church that is tucked away in a private building is easy to ignore. A church without walls, however, like the one that we talked about yesterday, is impossible to ignore. The supreme council of Jewish priests and rabbis, which was known as the Sanhedrin, met in an upper room within the Temple courtyards that was supported by the pillars of Solomon’s Colonnade. Think about that for a moment – the enemies of Jesus conspired against him while the followers of Jesus preached and healed people directly beneath them in Solomon’s Colonnade!

It didn’t take long for the priests and rabbis to notice what was happening beneath them. The early Christians were determined to be a church without walls, which meant that they didn’t shy away from hostility and persecution. The Jewish leaders had the apostles arrested and thrown into the public jail, but they were about to discover just how committed the Lord is to releasing his church from any manmade doors or walls that separate them from the people all around them who need the Gospel. The Lord sends an angel to release them miraculously from their prison cells. He sends them back into the Temple courtyards to continue being church without walls. I love the way in which the angel summarises the message that the Lord has given them. “Tell the people all about this new life.”
 
The early Christians talked to everybody about the resurrection of Jesus. They proclaimed that he had come to earth, lived a perfect life, been crucified for our sins, and on the third day been raised back to life again. They shared with everybody who would listen the Good News that this means that we can die and be raised to new life with him. If we put our faith in Jesus, then our past doesn’t have to affect our present. We can leave our old life in Jesus’ tomb along with his graveclothes and experience the new life that Jesus gives to us instead. The early Christians told people that Jesus has promised us ‘eternal life’ (John 4:10&14) and ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10).

Acts 5:42 tells us that these early Christians “never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” Is that also true of you today? If not, what is stopping you?
1)   How has the new life of Jesus transformed your own life?

2)   How would the new life of Jesus transform the lives of those around you, if they believed in him?

3)   Be honest with God and ask him for his help – what is stopping you from telling people all about this new life today?
Father God, I thank you that you have given me new life in Jesus. I can see that new life at work in me through [insert your own specific answers here]. Father, please help me to share this message of new life with others. I confess that I am held back by [insert your own specific answers here]. I ask you today to help me and to make me a courageous communicator of your message of new life to others. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.

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