Scripture - Acts 4:29-30 - Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Theme - Boldness (Power & Grace)
Devotion - I think its fair to say that this weeks story can be read and interpreted as illustrating the power of the disciples. Their prayer celebrates the power of God, in creating the world and disciplining the rebellious leaders of the world. The prayer closes with a petition for God to give them to power to boldly proclaim God's word. So how do the disciples exercise the power receive from God?
Right away we notice that the disciple's power is coupled with grace, 'With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. ' It may be tempting us to interpret the grace in these verses with the doctrine of God's mercy, but I would encourage us not to jump immediately to concepts. Instead what we see that grace is at work. Grace is an action the love of God in action. Equally important is the object of God's active grace. The dispossessed and disadvantaged are the objects of the God's grace.
The boldness then, or the power that the disciples prayed for was the power to put God's love into action in service of those most in need. The authorities that arrested Peter and John showed no concern for or awareness of the paralyzed man that Peter had just healed. They exercise their power through threats and intimidation, not grace. And they wield their power in order to maintain power. The popular understanding of power is being challenged and undermined by the disciples. They are not men of education or influence. They have no wealth, & carry no weapons. Yet our story tells us they are powerful because they can give life and nurture life especially among those whose lives are diminished. This is the power God bestows and God honors.
Prayer - Lord, we pray too for boldness, not as the world defines it, but as you do. Our boldness is not competitive and does not seek superiority over others. Our boldness seeks to serve, to nurture, and to encourage others. Continue to empower us Lord to proclaim you through generous acts of grace for those most in need.
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