More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick 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 their sick 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.
How amazing to think that God should bestow upon the disciples such power for transformation and for healing, that many became believers and many were healed! Because these people saw the difference faith made in the lives of the believers, they wanted it for themselves. They witnessed the power of God at work, and as they opened their hearts to faith, God blessed them too.
What is the truth, however – that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction? For all the joy the new believers found through faith in Jesus Christ, the high priest and his associates were consumed by jealousy. Peter and the apostles spent their days teaching and healing, so that others from nearby towns also brought those who were sick or tormented by impure spirits to be healed. The high priest was too busy being angered by the apostles to do anything good. Instead, he had them arrested.
In any given circumstance, we have the means to make a choice, whether to spend ourselves for others, or remain solely self-centered. We can choose to care for others in love, or be consumed with anger and jealousy. Great good can come out of the first choice; not so much on the second choice. May God help us make the kind of choices that honor him!
Gracious God, forgive the wrong choices we make, but encourage us and lift us to make the kinds of choices that are all about you. Help us give of ourselves in ways that witness to your character – actions of love and service and compassion and kindness. We see so much wrong in our world that stems from anger and jealousy. Fill us with you instead, through the grace of our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.