Focal passage: Acts 4:1-3, 8-12, 19-20
God gives us courage to speak boldly for Christ.
In the 1939 classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the Cowardly Lion longs for courage. He sings, “If I were king of the forest … I’d command each thing, be it fish or fowl. With a woof and a woof and a royal growl.” The Lion knows he was created to reign, but he is paralyzed by fear.
The Cowardly Lion needed courage to live out his identity in the forest. Likewise, we as Christians need courage to live out our identity as Christ’s witnesses in the world. Sharing the gospel requires boldness. Peter and John demonstrated this radical boldness as “they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 4:2). The religious leaders became angry, and the two apostles were immediately put in jail. Can you imagine it? Peter and John were imprisoned for sharing the gospel!
No one in my community has ever been jailed for witnessing, but I do know people who have been ridiculed or teased. Christ’s message can seem foolish and offensive to the lost. But remember, one of the most loving things we can do is to share the hope of Christ with people who are alienated from God.
Near the end of the film, when Dorothy and her entourage finally reach Emerald City, the Cowardly Lion sheepishly asks the Wizard for courage. Instead of some magical infusion of bravery, the Wizard simply gives the Lion a medal and tells him he has possessed internal courage all along. I’m so thankful God does not treat us in this way. When we share our faith with others, God does not expect us to muster the courage within ourselves. Instead, God emboldens us.
The morning after being imprisoned, Peter spoke at his trial. He needed great courage, but it did not come from within. Instead, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began to share the gospel (Acts 4:8).
As Christ followers, we can be confident when we share about Christ, not in our own abilities, but because God will empower us to share His truth with boldness.