Focal Passage: Acts 4:1-13
Every Christian likes the concept of spiritual courage. We like it so much that we preach sermons, provide training and sing songs about being bold for Christ.
Unfortunately, such armchair boldness soon resembles the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.
He could snarl and pounce and sing of courage, but as he prepared to infiltrate the witch’s castle, he asked one thing of his friends: “Talk me out of it!”
After Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, Peter preached his second sermon. In the midst of his bold proclamation, an entourage of Jewish leaders interrupted and threw him and John in jail for preaching the resurrection of Jesus.
Peter, who had failed to be bold at the arrest of Jesus, stood the next day in the midst of the most powerful Jewish leaders and spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit.
He boldly proclaimed the power of the resurrected Jesus and the guilt of the Jews in crucifying Him.
He continued with even greater boldness to declare, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12).
What a difference the Spirit’s power makes. Peter had been transformed from a boisterous coward to a man who loved the gospel more than his life.
The Jewish leaders were amazed by the boldness of Peter and John in light of their lack of education. Most of all, they recognized them “as having been with Jesus” (v. 13).
Do we bear the likeness of people who have been with Jesus?
When we strive to “set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15), we will face spiritual warfare. Our boldness in the flesh will wilt in the heat of opposition, and our Kingdom plans will be challenged by pressing temporal concerns.
Only the courage that the Holy Spirit gives empowers us to overcome the cowardice and poor priorities of our flesh.