Boldness

When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported everything that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

24And when they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND EVERYTHING THAT IS IN THEM, 25who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,

‘WHY WERE THE NATIONS INSOLENT,

AND THE PEOPLES PLOTTING IN VAIN?

26‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND,

AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER

AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’

27For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and purpose predestined to occur.

29And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant it to Your bond-servants to speak Your word with all confidence, 30while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:23–31)

 

The apostles are saying, “We are standing in the exact city these people gathered to kill your son Jesus and they are threatening us, too.” They understand the gravity of their situation and the danger they are in. But their prayer is, “See their threats and give your servant confidence to speak with boldness…”

 

In true word-nerd fashion, I like to compare headings and subheadings. This passage of Scripture is usually found under something like, “John and Peter Arrested,” or “The Disciples Pray for Courage.” Only a few translations highlight the main point just prior. The New King James Version is so generous to include this heading: “The Name of Jesus Forbidden.”

 

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God. 20For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18–20 NKJV)

 

The prayer for boldness and courage is the apostles’ response to being forbidden to speak or teach the name of Jesus and threatened with great harm if they do. “Ahem … not just no, but NO.” They knew what they had seen and heard. There would be no compromise and no silence.

Then they were empowered by the Spirit to speak boldly. And THEN they shared everything had.

O thou long expected King, sweet rest at last you bring. Let me finish well in the waiting. I pray you return to find me weary from worship, confident of your Lordship, and poured out for YOUR MAJESTY.