“When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness” (Acts 4:31, HCSB).
Because Peter and John had healed a man who was lame from birth by the power of God and “were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as the example” (vs. 2), the Sadducees became provoked.
These religious authorities did not believe in resurrection because they did not think it was taught in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, which was the only portion of Scripture they believed authoritative.
So they had Peter and John arrested!
When Peter and John appeared before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious tribunal, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly, passionately and persuasively proclaimed the gospel of Jesus to save and heal to these religious leaders.
The members of the Sanhedrin were amazed by the boldness of Peter and John, knowing they were not formally educated in the Jewish law. So, the Sanhedrin turned them loose but forbid them to preach and teach in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John answered that they could not stop telling the story of Jesus.
The boldness of Peter in this situation stands in contrast to his denial of Christ on the night of His arrest before He was crucified.
Boldness is referenced three times in Acts 4:1-31 (vs. 13, 29, 31):
- The boldness of Peter and John was observed by the Jewish religious leaders (vs. 13);
- the Church in Jerusalem prayed for boldness to proclaim the gospel (vs. 29); and
- the Church was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness (vs. 31).
Being bold is both a desired and essential behavior for Christians. Boldness was needed by the disciples in the early Church. Boldness is needed in the Church today!
Besides helping us speak the right words at the right time, boldness helps us persuade people about the truth of the gospel because they can see that we actually believe what we say they should believe.
We should pray and ask God for boldness and then expect God to empower us with boldness to speak and live righteously as a convincing witness and testimony to the gospel of Jesus in our lives.