Over the weekend I spent some much needed time in the book of Acts when Acts 4:13 stopped me in my tracks. Here we find Peter and John in court, on the witness stand, testifying of who Christ is to the high priests of their day, those who uphold the law of scripture and the land in their day.
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.
What stood out to me was that there were three observations that were made by the priests that I desire for people to regularly make of me and the American Church today.
They saw the boldness of Peter and John: If Peter and John were ever under qualified to speak to an audience this was the time, yet verse eight tells us where this boldness came from, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”. Boldness is a marker of the Holy Spirit and a characteristic often missing our desires to reflect Christ in both word and action.
Ordinary men with no special training: Does Jesus really keep his promises? Yes. The Peter and John are living in the fulfillment of the promise Christ makes to his disciples in Matthew 10:19.
“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
When we do not take the time to be filled with the Holy Spirit we are spin our wheels creating earthly authority, legitimacy and confidence to validate our words and actions. There is both great freedom and a need for great trust in knowing Christ will give us what we need when we need it.
Men who had been with Jesus: This must be a clear observation people make of me and the Church when they interact with us. This is the crux of the Peter and John’s encounter in Acts 4:13. Peter and John did not feel the need to announce that they had spent time with Jesus, it was simply obvious by who they were. Without our own announcement is it clear to people that we are ones who have been with Christ?
It is good to see that all three observations were made from the same single encounter. If we choose to walk out to the streets in boldness without spending time with Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit – terrible things happen. So as we begin the season of Lent today we the Church should spend less time the removing something from our daily lives but creating space for someone, the person of Christ, to add to our daily lives.