Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.
Acts 4: 8-14 (nlt)
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4: 28-31 (nlt)
Reading this, what strikes me are the words Bold and Boldness.
I will confess that often I feel timid. I fear coming on too strong or offending people so they don’t want to hear more. I don’t want to speak out of turn and bite my tongue, or worry I’m speaking from my own spirit (brashly) and not from the Holy Spirit. I wonder about how to word things so they “come out right.”
And let’s face it, tact is not one of my inherent traits. I am known for being compulsive and rushing into things, and I’ve had to learn and struggle with these issues on a daily basis as an adult.
But look here. Peter’s mouth often got him into trouble. Though he had great faith, he often said things that were just plain dumb because he didn’t think first.
And here he is, just a couple months after the crucifixion, in front of the same people that sent Christ to Pilate to be crucified! I wonder if it was the same place that Jesus had been questioned. Peter and John knew exactly what situation they were in. This would have been the time that Peter should have kept his mouth shut, right?
Yet God used that rashness. God filled him with the Holy Spirit and turned that into boldness.
Peter didn’t hesitate. He called them right out on arresting them for a stupid charge (“because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man”). And he used that very moment to boldly stand before Christ. He was ready to be bold and take the consequences, knowing exactly what those consequences might be.
And listen to what his fellow believers prayed when he recounted his ordeal. “Lord, make us bold too. Give us great boldness in preaching your word. Use us.”
And the answer came instantly, the moment they finished praying. The Holy Spirit shook the building and filled their hearts. And they all preached the Word of God with boldness.
Reading this gives me pause. Why am I not praying for that exact same boldness? Why do I not have it already? What fear is holding me back from counting the cost and standing up for what is right? What is it that I’m not willing to let go of or give up, to allow the Holy Spirit to come in? What would He shake up in my life so that I could be filled by Him? What would it take for me to be bold in the Word of God?