Faced with the people who killed Jesus would we be this courageous?

With that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: “Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I’ll be completely frank with you—we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; no other name has b-een or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.” Acts 4:8-12 (The Message)

The simple conclusion when looking at the transformation in Peter, the one who pledged undying allegiance to Jesus then denied him three times, is that God had done something amazing! If it were that Peter stood before, and speaking to, the religious rulers in his own power then I am sure his knees would have buckled. Standing before, and speaking to, people who deny the person and power of Jesus takes a certainty of mind and heart. I can imagine that this confidence grew up in Peter following Jesus’ resurrection and spending time with him before he ascended to heaven. The seal on this confidence came at Pentecost though. When Peter received the Holy Spirit he received the fulfilment of the promise that Jesus gave when he said, ‘ … you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (The N.I.V. translation)

It takes a certain conviction of heart and mind that can only come from receiving the Holy Spirit to stand up for Jesus in adversity. Today, we live in a society that no longer honours the name of Christ but uses it as an exclamation. The fear of God now has little appeal to a self sufficient consumer culture. Do those of us who seek to follow Jesus today have the conviction of heart and mind, shown by Peter, to stand up for Jesus in this age of adversity?

May we have the will to receive power from on high today so that we too may be witnesses to Jesus in our society and culture. Amen.

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