-- Ginger Ambler
As I’ve read and re-read the 4th Chapter of Acts, the word boldness keeps standing out to me. Something about that word – about that characterization of Peter and John – gives me pause.
In this chapter, the disciples are twice confronted by religious leaders in Jerusalem who demand to know who the men are, and by whose power they are teaching and healing the people. In the first confrontation, the high priests come quickly to recognize Peter and John as personal followers of Jesus. Yet, the disciples’ identity was not revealed by their having expressed great religious wisdom, nor by their being in any other way extraordinary human beings; on the contrary, it was the disciples’ boldness that led the high priests to recognize them as followers of Jesus. – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.”
Though the religious leaders repeatedly question and threaten Peter and John, the high priests acknowledge to one another that it is impossible to deny the “notable signs” that have been witnessed by thousands. Therefore, rather than deny what the disciples have done in Jerusalem, the religious leaders instead insist that Peter and John stop telling people that they act “in the name of Jesus.” They try to combat the disciples’ boldness, for they recognize that Peter and John’s power rests in their dauntless proclamation of Jesus’ name in all they do. Later, the disciples join with friends to pray for the very daring and determination that is required for God’s work to be done through them – “Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Can I be more bold? What would it look like for me to live my faith with more boldness? Would others be more likely to recognize me as a follower of Jesus? Would my boldness better enable others to see the wonders and the healing that God is accomplishing in the world?