Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13 esv
Shortly after the Holy Spirit had been given to the people at Pentecost, and the first church launched in Jerusalem, leaders began to encounter opposition. It seemed this new message of hope, change, healing & redemption was a threat to the religious order of the day.
When Peter & John were called before these leaders (Acts 4), they were charged with causing disruption due to the healing of the sick and the proclamation of the 'resurrection'. They were asked a few questions:
- by what power
- by what name
Their answer then, as it is now, was simply 'Jesus'.
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved..." Acts 4:12
They then proceeded to 'Gospel' the religious with humility & boldness. It was concluded that these 'uneducated men' spoke so well & with such passion due to their time spent with Jesus.
In an effort to silence this movement - the religious leaders bluntly told Peter & John to 'shut the &$%@ up' (loose translation). Their response...no can do.
...we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20
This Winter, we're once again calling our community to spend time with Jesus & in prayer. For our city, our neighbours, our leaders, the religious & the irreligious. For work accomplished only in the name & for the fame of Jesus.
Pray, too, for spirit-led influence, healing, compassion & justice - and that we would speak with boldness & humility about the reality of Jesus.
To coordinate this prayer, in light of Acts 4:20, we're setting our phones & watches to remind us each day @ 4:20pm to PRAY. Not as religion. Not as obligation. But as delight.
It's also a way to redeem a time otherwise known for escaping reality & responsibility (420). Redeem the leaf.
If you're in public, don't make a scene. Simply & quietly pray for your friends/colleagues/classmates - for divine conversations and humble ways of reflecting Jesus in word & deed. On afternoons where you have a bit more time, take a break to pray for those you know by name - for healing & reconciliation with God and with each other.
May we, by our words & actions, be known as people who have spent time with Jesus.
And when asked about the reason for our faith, may our answer remain simply 'Jesus'.
For the good of the city and the glory of God.