by Terry Wane Benton
The whole effort by the leaders of the Jews and Romans against Jesus was to turn the tide of public opinion against Jesus. They staged His trials and execution on the cross to humiliate Him and end His influence upon the people. Crowds were shouting "Hosanna" (Save Lord) as He entered Jerusalem, but the secrets of the leaders would soon have Him secretly tried, then openly humiliated. Seeing a so-called "king" humiliated this way would surely convince people that Jesus was not the king they thought He was. The Plot would now succeed, and the popularity of Jesus would now fade into oblivion. All they had to do is guard the tomb for three days and it is over. Their effort at truth suppression would be a success.
But, they could not keep Jesus in the grave! He was raised from the dead just as the prophetic word had promised and just as Jesus Himself promised. So, what would the truth suppressors do now? After Peter presented the evidence again in Acts 2, and 3,000 gave the evidence a fair hearing, the popularity of Jesus would start growing stronger than ever. What would the dishonest truth-suppressors do now? They had two options:
- Repent, give the evidence a fair hearing, and believe it, be converted by it, or
- Keep hardening their hearts, deny the evidence, and keep suppressing the truth and the truth-tellers.
As you read Acts 4-5, they put some of the leading apostles on trial, refused to actually hear the evidence, threatened them not to speak of Jesus anymore, then beat them, using intimidation tactics to keep the truth-tellers too fearful to speak up anymore. But, that did not work. Their message was too important to keep quiet. The Book of Acts tells the story of how truth prevails against intimidation tactics.
When the gospel has the facts on its side, it builds up conviction in the heart, and it has to come out and be shared. The truth finds new ways to find those hearts that are not hardened against hearing the evidence. Jesus has all the evidence in His favor. He has the long prophetic types, shadows, and prophecies of Israel's sacred books, all fulfilled in Him. He has the power of His resurrection and the eyewitness testimony. The testimony stood the tests of criticism in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all over the world. It is just that powerful! Truth is powerful! We can either suppress it and refuse to be honest with it, or we can listen honestly and let it convict us!
Have you given the Testimony a fair hearing? Or, have you suppressed it? There is a lot riding on what we do with the evidence!