Acts: The Courage of Peter and John

Read: Acts 4:13-22

Though professionally unqualified, Peter and John are able to articulate scripture, defend their positions with eloquence, and act with courage that defies logic. They should’ve been scared and speechless but their response sets the Sanhedrin on its heels.

they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

Someone took note of the unexplainable, perhaps irrefutable fact, that there is a common denominator: they had been with Jesus.

Parents can always tell who their children have been playing with. It’s sometimes subtle. Perhaps a phrase they say or how they carry themselves. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s surprisingly easy to observe when you know your child and the friend in question.

In this case, in particular, I wonder if one of the members of the Sanhedrin recognized Peter as the one who kept denying Jesus. Perhaps it was his servant girl that report seeing the Galilean by the fire muttering obscenities to those who suggested he knew Jesus. How could that guy be this man? Deep inside he knew the answer, but his training is now responsible for his denial.

The boldness and courage seen here come from a source that the Pharisees and Sadducees flat out refuse to believe.

But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. Acts 4:14

The forty-year-old lame beggar is now the strong point of evidence against the religious right. It’s impossible to refute. The man who once begged for his mere existence is standing before them–something that made absolutely no sense! Their only recourse is to dismiss the disciples with a stern warning.

They “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). This is the very name they asked about in the first place. Now they know the answer, yet somehow conclude this is the very thing that must stop.

Peter and John don’t miss a beat. I wonder if they completed each other’s sentences in their response:

Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:19-20

The evidence and the crowds kept the Sanhedrin from going any further so they had no choice. They let the disciples go.

What have you seen or heard that cannot be quieted? If you cannot answer with evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life, or if I cannot point to anything in my life, does that mean the Holy Spirit is no longer at work?

Perhaps this is why we are exhorted to always be prepared to give an explanation for the hope we find in Christ.

Right now, wherever you are, stop and answer this question with one convicting response to Peter’s question in 1 Peter 3:15. Write it down. May I suggest you avoid searching the internet, your favorite C.S. Lewis quote, or answering, “just because.”

Here’s my most recent attempt for your consideration. The Reason for the Hope I have in Christ.

The key to making disciples is wrapped up in the answer. Perhaps even more, it’s how we answer the question as Peter continues in 1 Peter 3:16.

The confidence Peter and John have is because of their faith in Christ. The past is behind them. Peter’s failure is written for us to have the assurance of forgiveness. John failed to speak up, as well as the other disciples, but we don’t get those details. They all hid until Jesus Himself appeared and had breakfast with them.

We all have weaknesses. Get over it. Seriously, please let go of those things that are holding you down. Have the courage of Peter. It’s yours for the asking if the Holy Spirit lives in you if you have confessed Jesus as Lord. It’s simple, but it’s not easy, I get that. Search within. Seek. I pray you will hear and respond today.

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This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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