Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
What were the leaders referring to, when they questioned Peter and John?
There were three items on the agenda. One was the healing of the lame man, the second was the teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus, and the third, many people had come to faith in Jesus.
These three matters are to be kept in mind as we fulfil our task as His church here on earth.
One side of the ministry of His church is to meet the people’s physical, mental, social, and economic needs. Acts 3:6-7 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (7) And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
The second side is to present Christ to people and for people to repent and submit to the lordship of Christ, by faith in Him. Acts 3:19-20 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (20) and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, / Acts 3:25-26 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ (26) To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
The third side of the ministry of His church is to work with those who receive Jesus as their Lord. This is the discipleship function of His church. Acts 4:4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
These three sides of the ministry of His church are inseparable. This was how the Lord did His ministry.
Jesus explained His ministry to John the Baptist. Matthew11:4-6 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: (5) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (6) And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
This holistic ministry of our Lord is the Gospel of His kingdom. Luke 4:40-44 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. (41) And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ. (42) Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; (43) but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (44) And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
Sadly, we have confused ourselves by separating these three aspects of the ministry of His church and we have given emphasis on one side over the other.
Do we not see oppression, corruption, injustice, lying and cheating? As the church will we only ask people to repent of their sins and surrender their lives to Christ? As we do so, are we not also building and equipping the body of Christ to be conformed to Christ, who is our head? Are we not bringing people and nations into the kingdom of Jesus, as Jesus had done?
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, (13) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
It was for this holistic ministry that they had done that Peter and John were being questioned.
We must ensure that our ministry is holistic. When we are questioned, for the ministry that we do, we must consider their questioning as a beautiful opportunity for the growth of the Gospel.
Let us, with great joy, fulfil the ministry to which the Lord has called His church. If we are questioned and persecuted for the work that we do, let us not be discouraged, for so they did to those who have gone ahead of us.