This morning I was reading a part of Acts 4 and I could NOT get past the part where the Scriptures talk about the boldness of Peter and John when it came preaching the name of JESUS. Check this out (I will highlight the parts that I find interesting):
Acts 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Peter and John Arrested
4 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
Addressing the Sanhedrin
5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Ok. I have officially gotten excited! They had HOLY (Ghost) boldness!!! The “HIGH PRIESTS, the CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE and the SADDUCEES were “religious” but they did NOT know the POWER OF THE NAME OF JESUS!!! Well, I wonder about that because, my question would be, If they didn’t know about the name of Jesus, why were they fighting SO HARD to keep them from teaching/preaching about or in the name of JESUS? Hmmm
The Name of Jesus Forbidden
13 Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
Okay, okay, okay!
First they religious leaders thought Peter and John were uneducated/untrained (ignorant) men but they REALIZED they (Peter and John) had been with JESUS. See, spending time with JESUS does something to you! GLORY! The religious leaders knew that they couldn’t do anything to Peter and John because there were many who witnessed the man’s healing and many believed so the religious leaders threatened them and told them not to speak the name of JESUS. .
That is TEAM TOO MUCH.
Prayer For Boldness
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all BOLDNESS they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus”
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with BOLDNESS.
God, the all-knowing God, KNEW that Peter and John would be in the position they were in. They NEVER asked God to “get them, God, because they threatened us” nor did they say, “God, You said, Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm, but these religious leaders put us in jail, now send Your angels to destroy them”.
No, sometimes we think that we are not supposed to go through anything, but verse 28 lets me know that what all of the religious leaders did was DETERMINED before to be done. It was in God’s plan. So, wisdom led Peter to pray vs. 30. They prayed for God to stretch out HIS hand so that signs and wonders could be done through the name of JESUS. And of course, they asked for MORE BOLDNESS.
I absolutely love this passage of Scripture. God knew they would be persecuted for using the name of Jesus, but they taught and preached with BOLDNESS…….the name of JESUS and many believed.
In this day and time, there are many whom would like for the Christian to just shut up and stop talking about the name of Jesus. Granted, there are many people who have brought shame to the name of Jesus by doing things, openly, which are contrary to the teachings of Jesus. However, those of us who stand in holiness (none of us are perfect but we strive), must STAND IN BOLDNESS and preach and teach JESUS. Of course the “world” does not want anybody to preach/teach JESUS because there is POWER in that name.
The “world” can cuss on television, radio, videos, etc, but when Christians want to teach/preach the name of Jesus, the “world” wants us to shut up! Wrong Answer.
So, I am encouraged to go forth in BOLDNESS and preach/teach the name of JESUS. How about you?