17 “Brothers and sisters, I know you acted in ignorance. So did your rulers. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he foretold through all the prophets: that his Christ would suffer. 19 Change your hearts and lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away. 20 Then the Lord will provide a season of relief from the distress of this age and he will send Jesus, whom he handpicked to be your Christ. 21 Jesus must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things, about which God spoke long ago through his holy prophets. 22 Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up from your own people a prophet like me. Listen to whatever he tells you. 23 Whoever doesn’t listen to that prophet will be totally cut off from the people. 24 All the prophets who spoke—from Samuel forward—announced these days. 25 You are the heirs of the prophets and the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he told Abraham, Through your descendants, all the families on earth will be blessed. 26 After God raised his servant, he sent him to you first—to bless you by enabling each of you to turn from your evil ways.”
4 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them. 2 They were incensed that the apostles were teaching the people and announcing that the resurrection of the dead was happening because of Jesus. 3 They seized Peter and John and put them in prison until the next day. (It was already evening.) 4 Many who heard the word became believers, and their number grew to about five thousand. (Acts 3:17—4:4, CEB)
I have been talking a lot over the past few weeks, for the season of Advent, about fear and the state of the world. I have intentionally been linking Advent to fear because it seems like fear is pervasive, and would world is overcome in the past few years with evil. We are becoming more and more turned in our ourselves and looking our for our best interest rather than the interests of others.
I am writing this before the presidential election in the USA and there is an undertone of hope, yet the society is still more concerned with their own self interest and not the best for society. It seems we are in a time when someone says something I disagree with that we immediately say that the other is wrong and start defending our position. That is what is happening in the reading, Peter and John were preaching good news and the religious leaders felt threatened, so they fought back. I wonder what would have happened if they would have listened… They may not have changed their mind, but maybe there would have been an understanding.
I wonder what would happen if we as followers of the coming savior would listen to be compassionate, to hear our neighbor? What would happen if we loved as God tells us to and were a presence of peace in the community in which we live? What would happen is we let love rule rather than fear?
Let love rule, and kick fear to the curb.