Scripture: Acts 4:13-31
Key verses: (19-20) “But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Reflection: How much courage do you have to stand up for what you believe in? I was reminded recently about the courage of conviction many people showed during the Civil Rights Movement of the 50’s and 60’s. They challenged the status quo and stood up against injustice. They lived out what they believed; willing to die for what was right. Almost all of them were guided by their Christian faith. Today’s story in Acts shows the bravery of Peter and John. This bravery, seen in their determination, was a gift that enabled them to offer hope to countless people. They knew there were always potential consequences to their choice to share what they had seen and heard from Jesus, but nothing would stop them. I admire this kind of courage and sometimes I wonder how well I would have done in their circumstances. Then, I remember that we are living in challenging times. We have opportunities now to speak up for those who have no voice and live out what Jesus taught. There is always a choice. We can stay quiet and enjoy a private faith with God or we can share the hope of the Gospel and speak up on behalf of others. How often do we choose comfort over action because we are indifferent or afraid? How often do we fail to speak about what we have seen and heard from Jesus?
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his book Strength to Love these words: “This faith transforms the whirlwind of despair into a warm and reviving breeze of hope. The words of a motto which a generation ago were commonly found on the wall in the homes of devout persons need to be etched on our hearts:
Fear knocked at the door.
There was no one there.” (p. 126)
May we have the courage of Peter and John as we witness to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our acts of compassion and kindness; our words and our deeds, for it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we serve God in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.
Prayer: O God, that we would be filled by your Holy Spirit so that we might speak the word of God with boldness. Break down barriers within us that keep us from sharing your love, forgiveness and hope with others. Make us bold witnesses to your presence in the world giving us courage in the face of fear to do what is right. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].