Daily Devotion – April 23, 2021 – Pastor Erick Thompson
5 The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John,[a] and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 When they had made the prisoners[b] stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[c] whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11 This Jesus[d] is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’[e]
12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
Part of the process for being ordained as a minister in the Lutheran church usually involves a few meetings that are politely called, “interviews.” For some who want to be pastors, they can feel like interrogations. I’m certain that Peter and the others were feeling very uneasy when they assembled all of the leaders of the church to “inquire” of the prisoners. If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you know how difficult these times can be. Even if you might have a good answer, sometimes you’re so out of sorts because of all the people staring at you, it’s difficult to provide an intelligent answer. And so, in our lesson from Acts, we get two important clues about the Christian life that many forget, even when they’re in the process of trying to become a pastor.
First, the Holy Spirit is at work in the world. Peter’s response to the high priests’ interrogation comes after he is “filled with the Holy Spirit.” We too have the promise of the Holy Spirit as our advocate, as our helper. I wonder if we remember Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit, or if we think it’s just up to us to answer. And, the Spirit’s help is not confined to situations where we’re being asked questions in front of a panel. The Spirit is with us always, an ever present help for us.
Secondly, we sometimes forget our cornerstone. While in this story, Peter is proving the point that the High Priests rejected the very conrnerstone that gave him the power to do his ministry, for us, Jesus as our cornerstone can help us build a life that has a sure foundation. When we are faced with the sometimes difficult questions of life around vocation, family, where we should live, etc., do we remember that Christ is our Cornerstone? Does that guide our decision making at all? If it doesn’t, it would be worth praying for guidance in the midst of difficult decisions. And prayer is what made the difference for me in my Pastoral Candidacy Interview. I remember hearing the words of the prayer, and thinking, this isn’t really so much about me, as it is about the Holy Spirit and God’s work in the church. It gave me the freedom to simply be myself, and to let the Holy Spirit support and guide me.
Prayer: Gracious God, open us up to hear your words of wisdom and peace that you speak into our lives, so that we may be guided by your loving Spirit. Amen.