It’s hard enough to be scrutinized when you’ve done something wrong. It’s even more difficult when you’ve done something right. Peter and John do a good and right thing: They heal a man born lame. When healed, the man jumps up and makes a spectacular show of himself in the Temple. That act of healing and the ensuing celebration attract a crowd of amazed people. That’s when Peter begins preaching the truth about Jesus, the possibility of forgiveness, and the reality of the Resurrection.
None of these actions merit trouble. But before long, Peter and John are hauled before the religious legal experts to answer for themselves. Nothing tests our moral compass quite like being questioned for doing the right thing. Like confronting a friend for self-destructive behavior. Or challenging a politician with immoral policy positions. Or pressing for reforms within our faith community.
Peter and John bring a powerful Exhibit A to the trial: the testimony of the healed man himself. When the interrogators see the well-being of a man who can now walk, “they had nothing to say in opposition.”
This is what the truth does. This is what belief in the Resurrection does. It demonstrates even to the most ardent skeptics the possibility that God works in surprising ways. Despite pressing Peter and John to cease their actions and stop preaching the gospel, the religious leaders release them. They escape punishment, and public support now favors them.
It may be hard—seemingly impossible—to stand up for God’s truth and goodness when you are persecuted for doing so. But there’s a reason that Jesus in the Beatitudes calls us blessed when we do.

God, grant me the courage to stand up for you when it is difficult to do so. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 10:11-18

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Lectionary Week
April 16–22, 2018
Scripture Overview

This week’s readings open with a confrontation in Acts between Peter and John and some of the religious leaders. Peter speaks in harsh terms to the leaders, stating that they had killed Jesus; yet by the power of Jesus’ name, a man who could not walk has been healed. By that same name spiritual healing happens as well. The other three passages employ the metaphor of the Good Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd,” the psalmist declares, and the shepherd cares for all our needs. In John’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. First John repeats this imagery. Jesus proved his love when he lay down his life for us. If we truly love one another, we also ought to sacrifice in tangible ways.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Psalm 23. How comfortable do you feel about God’s provision for your life? Do you believe you have enough?
• Read Acts 4:5-12. When have you gotten into difficulty for exercising your Christian faith and values? If never, why not?
• Read 1 John 3:16-24. The writer notes that we may find being called sheep unbecoming. He goes on to mention that the epistle of John addresses followers of Christ as “little children.” Would you prefer to be a sheep or a child? Why?
• Read John 10:11-18. Which of your assumptions about God have been turned upside down? How did this come about?

Respond by posting a prayer.