In the climactic scene of many crime dramas, a lone police officer confronts the villains in their hide-out. One good man against an armed and reckless gang might seem foolish, but, as the viewers know, the police officer seems confident for a good reason. He has a backup team in place, ready to help at the first sign of trouble.
Evangelism does not come without discomfort. To tell our coworkers, friends, and neighbors about the love of God in Christ may be to invite them to dismiss us, to ridicule us, or to end our relationship. For Christians in many times and places, evangelism has also come with danger. The church in Acts knew these risks firsthand. Peter and John had just been imprisoned (see Acts 4:1–22) for preaching the gospel, and a similar threat hung over the whole church.
As evangelists, we need boldness. Our confidence lies, as we saw yesterday, in the truth and power of the message we proclaim. It also comes from the Spirit who gives the Word its power (see 1 Thess. 1:5) and who speaks through us as we speak (Matt. 10:20). As we tell others about Jesus, we are not alone. Instead, we have the promised help of the Holy Spirit. Like the members of the early church, we can cast our anxieties on the Lord and ask Him to enable us to speak His word with great boldness (v. 29).
In answer to the believers’ prayer, God poured out the Spirit on everyone there (v. 31). We read that the place where they were was shaken, and, in the words of the Early Church Father John Chrysostom, “that made them more unshaken.” We can have confidence that He will do the same for us.
Evangelism can be a frightening task, and we need courage. Like the members of the early church, we can ask God for the help of His Spirit to do the work of confident gospel proclamation. Spend time in prayer today. Confess to the Lord your fears and discomfort with evangelism. Ask Him to give you boldness and to make you unshaken.