From Acts 4-6
The apostles were arrested, threatened and then released. They are afraid and need help. They recall the Psalms and what they predicted would happen to the Christ (i.e. Jesus). They ask God for boldness and courage and he powerfully answers them. Today’s post gives a little advice for those who speak God’s word.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The Lord is doing some amazing work through Peter and John who are preaching in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. The Jewish authorities are noticing and are not happy with what is happening. So they arrest them and take them into custody overnight. On the next morning they try and intimidate them.
But they can’t, because filled with the Holy Spirit they have supernatural courage.
They preach the gospel, saying Jesus whom they crucified has been risen from the dead and there is no other name by which men can be saved. The Jewish authorities recognise they are uneducated men, but they recognise they have been with Jesus. They them command them to leave the council and warn them not to continue preaching in Jesus name. They refuse, saying they cannot but speak of what they have seen and heard (Acts 4.1-22).
This is where our passage picks up.
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. (Acts 4.23)
Peter and John went to their friends.
The Christians were together as one family and bound in mutual friendship and affection.
Their friends were probably concerned for their welfare having been arrested by the Jewish authorities. After what happened to Jesus, it would be understandable they would feel like this.
After giving their report of what happened they prayed.
24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’ (Acts 4.24-26)
I assume someone took the lead in prayer and the others followed suit.
They recognise God as the sovereign Lord, creator of heaven and earth. The way they identify God and begin their prayer is rooted in Judaism.
They are Jews, who recognise Jesus as the Christ.
Mindful that Jesus is the Christ, perhaps they discussed at various times the messianic Psalms seeking some sort of understanding about what happened to Jesus. They acknowledge David spoke by the Holy Spirit as only few people in the ancient times were and they quote the first two verses of Psalm 2.
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4.27-28)
Recalling what happened to Jesus, they have realised the Psalm pointed forward to the time of the promised Christ. King Jesus, who would be opposed by the Gentile nations and the people of Israel. Because the Psalm predicted these events they knew God was in control and it was according to his predestined plan.
‘Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures’ (1 Cor 15.3)
And now they are the ones who are being persecuted. Just as Jesus was.
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4.29-30)
So they pray for boldness and courage. Pray for boldness to speak God’s word.
Their ministry of the word is accompanied by signs and wonders. People who encountered these men saw God’s kingdom becoming more present in the world. New life was happening. People were believing Jesus was the Christ, receiving forgiveness of sins and eternal life. They also were healed of their sickness, their blindness and possession. God was changing the world through them.
Evangelism and Healing are meant to work together. Why not try for both?!?
31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4.31)
They pray and the place is shaken. Obviously God heard their prayer and gave them assurance he had heard and of his power.
God’s presence normally occupies the temple. In days long ago, God filled the temple with his presence. God’s Spirit fills these men.
Yes, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But people indwelt by the Spirit can still have little experience of God’s power and presence. God fills these men and women, these temples of the living God, with his Spirit. Once filled, they are emboldened to speak his word despite opposition.
Pray that God would fill you with His Spirit and empower you for ministry.
People on mission for God, preaching his word and praying in his name for healing will be opposed in a variety of ways at different times. This has been so from the start.
The apostles recognise Jesus was opposed. He was arrested and questioned. Even worse Jesus was put to death. They knew this was according to God’s plan.
Because the apostles are being opposed they ask for God’s help and God answers them powerfully. God answers prayer. He fills them with the Spirit and they speak.
Evangelism should involve much prayer. Evangelists need to ask God to be filled with the Spirit, to give them boldness to speak spiritual words that give new life.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.