By Toni Ford
Jesus was always up front and honest with His disciples. In John 16:33, we see where Jesus told them that once He returned to His Father, they would experience persecution, betrayals, imprisonment and even death because of their faith in Him. In the same sentence, Jesus reassured the disciples that He had overcome the world, so they had nothing to fear.
John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” These words did not stop Peter and John from continuing to boldly preach the good news of the gospel, even in the face of numerous threats and persecution.
So, the question becomes, how or what were the keys to preaching with such boldness? In Acts of the Apostles chapters 3 and 4, we find a few of these answers.
Confidence in God. In the third chapter of Acts, Peter and John healed a lame man sitting at the gate called Beautiful. This action did not sit well with the priests, temple leaders and the Sadducees, because Peter and John had healed the lame man on the Sabbath, and immediately afterwards, Peter began preaching that Christ had been raised from the dead. In Acts 4, the religious leaders ask Peter and John by what power did they heal the lame man. Peter boldly responds: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.” (Acts 4: 8-10).
The Word continues to tell us that the religious leaders could not deny that since the healed man was standing before them. A miracle had taken place, and all the people knew what had just happened. So, the religious leaders threatened Peter and John, commanding them to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus any longer. However, Peter and John respond in Acts 4:19-20, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God you judge. For we cannot help but declare what we have seen and heard.” Peter and John were confident in Jesus, His character, His resurrection and His Words. Because of that confidence they spoke boldly, not out of fear but rather with conviction, a belief and a confidence that was unwavering.
Prayer and infilling of the Spirit. Notice that as soon as Peter and John were released from the questioning of the religious leaders, they returned to their company of believers. The first thing they began to do was lift their voices in prayer to God. Praying together with other believers was key to their power and their boldness. Prayer always precedes the power, and Acts 4:29 is a testimony of this as we see exactly what the believers were praying: “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.” The believers continued to pray until the place was shaken by the power of the Holy Spirit, at which point they received an infilling of His Spirit. Acts 4:31 says, “The meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” Prayer and the infilling of the Spirit are keys to boldness. The believers joined together and prayed fervently until the unseen became the seen and the impossible was accomplished.
This is my prayer more and more in these days we are living. The days are evil, and we as believers need to speak with a greater boldness, which can be done in the love of Jesus. The world is longing for truth, and we have the ultimate truth in God and His Word. I pray that as believers, we would not fear the trials and persecutions of this life but rather we would go to Him in prayer asking for a boldness and an infilling of His Spirit. We then can speak with great confidence in knowing that His Words to us are truth and light!
If you would like continued prayer, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!