2022_01_12 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Acts 3-4
There have been a few times in my life when I have been the target of someone’s anger and threats to harm me or my reputation. The goal was to take me down to satisfy their own agenda, regardless of the truth. When something like this happens, it is scary, and the natural tendency is to find the quickest way out. In our reading this week we see the amazing impact that Jesus’ newly born church is having, but also the increasing pressure on the leaders of the church to stop what the new church is doing. The resistance is coming from the religious leaders that orchestrated Jesus’ arrest and execution, who are furious that His disciples not only haven’t disbanded but are actively proselytizing in Jerusalem.
The healing of a 40-year-old man who had been crippled since birth caused a huge stir. The miraculous healing was undeniable, but the religious leaders were furious and they wanted to silence Peter and John. They were smart enough to know if they punished them, the public fallout would be devastating so instead, the Sanhedrin issued a strong warning and a clear message that this wasn’t the end. The disciples left knowing their enemies would continue their attacks unless they were silent. This was their prayer:
“And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 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 4:29–31 (NLT)
Peter and John didn’t make their comfort and security their top priority, instead they asked God for boldness to continue the work, knowing God would fully meet their needs. The coming chapters will show us how God gave them courage and boldness. Along the way some sacrificed their lives, and others were remarkably rescued, but God was with ALL of them every step of the way, giving them exactly what they needed.
There is nothing wrong with praying for healing, protection or safety, but more importantly, we should come before our Heavenly Father and ask for His Spirit to strengthen and embolden us, to be faithful witnesses for Him regardless of what we face.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)