And now, Lord, behold their threatenings - It is not against us, but against thee, that they conspire: it is not to prevent the success of our preaching, but to bring to nought thy counsel: the whole of their enmity is against thee. Now, Lord, look upon it; consider this.
And grant unto thy servants - While we are endeavoring to fulfill thy counsels, and can do nothing without thee, sustain our courage, that we may proclaim thy truth with boldness and irresistible power.
Behold their threatenings - So look upon them as to grant us deliverance. They did not purpose to abandon their undertaking; they resolved to persevere; and they expected that this purpose would involve them in danger. With this purpose they implored the protection of God; they asked that he would not suffer them to be deterred from speaking boldly; and they sought that constant additional proof might be granted of the presence and power of God to confirm the truth of their message.
And grant - This is an instance of heroic boldness, and a determination to persevere in doing their duty to God. When we are assailed by those in power; when we are persecuted and in danger, we should commit our way unto God, and seek his aid, that we may not be deterred from the path of duty.
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” AA 60.1
Thus the disciples preached the resurrection of Christ. Many among those who listened were waiting for this testimony, and when they heard it they believed. It brought to their minds the words that Christ had spoken, and they took their stand in the ranks of those who accepted the gospel. The seed that the Saviour had sown sprang up and bore fruit. AA 60.2
While the disciples were speaking to the people, “the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” AA 60.3Read in context »
When Christ, the Hope of Israel, was hung upon the cross and was lifted up as He told Nicodemus He would be, the disciples’ hope died with Jesus. They could not explain the matter. They could not understand all that Christ had told them about it beforehand. FW 63.3Read in context »
Certainty Born of Heart Conviction—Do not present the truth in a formal manner, but let the heart be vitalized by the Spirit of God, and let your words be spoken with such certainty that those who hear may know that the truth is a reality to you. Your manner may be educated, and your words may be of that character that they will voice the words of Peter: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” With just as much assurance you may declare the message of God's truth. Those who believe sacred, eternal truth, must put their whole soul into their efforts. We must be stirred to the very heart as we behold the fulfilling of prophecy in the closing scenes of this earth's history. As our vision extends still further into the glories of eternity—the coming of Christ with power and great glory, and the scenes of the great day of judgment—we should not remain tame and unmoved. “I saw the dead,” John says, “stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”—Letter 8, 1895. VSS 226.1
Enthusiasm in Things Real and Imaginary—On a certain occasion, when Betterton, the celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop said to him, “Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary.” VSS 227.1
“My lord,” replied Betterton, “with due submission to Your Grace, permit me to say that the reason is plain: It all lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 255. VSS 227.2Read in context »
Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2
The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3Read in context »