Text: Acts 4:1-22, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, 1 John 5:12
Annas and Caiaphas were trying to do damage control—and fast.
They’d conspired to kill Jesus, and as far as they could tell, the plot had been successful. Of course, a rabble of people claimed Jesus had risen from the dead, but that was preposterous—wasn’t it? All they needed was to imprison a few more people, defame a few more miracles, and then this whole charade would be over for good. Things could get back to normal.
Normal. That sounds familiar.
“I just can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back into our regular routine.”
“Once _______ (fill in the blank) happens, things will settle down again.”
I’ve said these words before. They give me a false sense of control, a sense of hope that soon all the chaos will be behind me and the storm will pass.
I’ll go to great lengths, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. I’m desperate for it. So desperate that, the more God tries to change my circumstances, the more I gripe and moan and disobey because it hurts to lose what I’ve worked so hard to construct as mine.
Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:13). As high priests, their “normal” meant power, prestige, and position. The two worked side by side to make atonement for the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:32-34). Minor celebrities in their culture, they spent their days clothed in beautiful linen garments and purifying the holiest of places within the temple. Without their atoning work of sacrifice, all of Israel would fall away from the Lord into sin and destruction.
That is, until Jesus.
If what Peter and John preached was true, then Annas and Caiaphas’ work no longer held any meaning. If Jesus had really risen from the dead, then He was the real High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), and life as Annas and Caiaphas knew it was over. It meant they were unemployed, power-hungry murderers, with no role to play in society. And rather than accept the fact that they were just as sinful as the people they’d been trying to atone for, they tightened their fists around their own power.
But Peter and John stood before the Lord’s murderers unfazed. Filled with boldness, eloquence, and joy, they proclaimed the Truth: there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12).
How’s this for a paraphrase: Hey, Annas, Caiaphas. You think you’re making a legacy for yourselves, but this is all going to come to an end. Your efforts to circumvent God are not going to work. And you are just as sinful as you’re afraid to admit.
I imagine Solomon nodding his head: in Ecclesiastes, he reminds us that everything we pursue is absolute futility (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). And in Corinthians, we’re told that even feeding the poor, having faith, and donating all our money mean nothing unless we have Love Himself (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
There is salvation in no one else. Not outside of your marriage. Not inside a better routine. Not with that pair of shoes. Not once you lose fifteen pounds. The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus. His rival is your sense of control over what’s “normal.”
Peter and John knew that the storm was only just beginning. They could be bold and fearless because they knew, without question, that they were anchored in the only Truth that can sustain the volatile winds and waves of that storm.
Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.