Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples went into the Temple courts and healed a crippled man. The authorities opposed the crowds that soon gathered and tossed Peter and John into prison. The next day, they were questioned, “By what power, or what name did you do this?” (v. 7).
Remember that in the eyes of these men Peter was not the renowned apostle we know today. He was just Peter, the fisherman from Galilee. With a Spirit-empowered boldness, Peter stood and proclaimed that salvation is found only through the resurrection of Jesus (vv. 8–12). Not knowing how to handle the situation and the undeniable fact that the cripple had been healed, they ordered Peter and John not to speak about Jesus any longer. However, Peter and John again replied with great courage that they could not stop speaking about Jesus and what they had “ seen and heard” (v. 20).
After being let go, Peter and John returned to the other disciples and prayed for more boldness. Notice that their prayer was not centered on safety from the threats, but rather for the Lord “to enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (v. 29). The Lord answered their prayer as they were all immediately “filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (v. 31).
The early believers went out with great boldness and proclaimed the simple message of Jesus all around the known world. John ended up being exiled to an island. Peter was murdered in Rome. Many other believers were killed at the hands of the Romans, oftentimes in cruel and humiliating ways. But even in the face of severe opposition, the church began to grow and build gatherings that proclaimed a bold message. At the core of their message was not a teaching but an event— the resurrection of Jesus— and they couldn’t stop talking about it.
>> A bold message requires bold messengers. May we pray bold prayers like the early church, no matter what circumstances we face.
Dear God, we know that the world hates you and hates us because of you. Strengthen our trembling hearts and grant us boldness to proclaim the gospel, even in the face of hatred.