Scripture - Acts 4:13 - When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men...
Theme - Boldness
Devotion - Let's jump right into the middle of this weeks story. The authorities, having arrested Peter and John and held them overnight, now gather to intimidate and threaten them. Annas and Caiaphas, who oversaw the plot to have Jesus crucified, have been invited. But they are shocked at Peter's response. Their coercion isn't met with fear and intimidation, but with courage. Some translations render the word, 'boldness.' When we think of the gifts or fruit of the Holy Spirit we think of love, joy, peace & patience, among others. But the Holy Spirit doesn't give Peter peace or patience. The Holy Spirit gives Peter boldness.
Today we ponder boldness as a spiritual gift. It may not feel a comfortable. Boldess doesn't always appear kind. Boldness troubles the water, rocks the boat. Boldness will not comfort with proclamations of peace when there is no peace. Boldness could offend. And Boldness could be misdirected and easily misused. There are many Christian preachers who boldly proclaim rejection of our gay, lesbian, & transgender siblings, for instance. So do we really want this spiritual gift?
The key to discerning how and when to be bold is found in our story. First, today's verse makes note that Peter and John were unschooled and ordinary. In the King James version they are described as unlearned and ignorant. Their boldness is rooted in their humility. They are not speaking boldly to either attain or maintain power. They do not speak from a place of authority or influence. Second, we recall that Peter speaks out on behalf of an impoverished and previously disabled man AS WELL as for a crucified criminal, Jesus. When our boldness is rooted in humility and is in service to those who are powerless and abused our boldness, as uncomfortable as it may be, is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The question for today is, how do you feel about the spiritual gift of boldness on behalf of the poor and powerless? on behalf of the socially rejected?
Prayer - May we be bold in our testimony of your son Jesus and the Kingdom of justice and peace he inaugurated. Guard us from a boldness that comes from superiority and keep our courage rooted in service to you and to others. Keep us from a boldness that is secure and keep us safely in a boldness that is an expression of vulnerability.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.