Monday, September 19, 2016
While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of men who believed now totaled about 5,000. The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” 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. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:1-12(NLT)
Peter and John had spent the night in jail after healing a crippled man at the temple. Luke writes that when Peter spoke he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus had predicted it would be like that when he sent the apostles out to spread the Good News:
When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. Matthew 10:19(NLT)
Peter and John were released from arrest, and they continued to follow where the Spirit led, preaching and teaching about Jesus.
When anyone follows Christ there are going to be opportunities to tell the Good News. Jesus also predicted that[ii], and it is simply a matter of courage to speak up when the Spirit opens a door. You don’t have to plan it; you just need to be ready for it!
There have been times when I had opportunity, and because of preoccupation with other, less important issues, I just didn’t see it; I wasn’t listening for the Spirit’s call. Then, there were times I just didn’t want to see the opportunity, because I lacked the courage to speak up. Like Peter, who, when Jesus was on trial, stood outside with the crowd denying he even knew his Master.
But there have also been times when I was listening and faithful to speak. Sometimes I felt like I fumbled my way through, and sometimes it just felt natural and right. But each time, without exception, God blessed the opportunity.
Isn’t it odd, how God can do that?
Looking back on these opportunities it occurs to me that I could not have prepared much for any of them. Mostly it just sneaks up on you. There have been some times when I did prepare, sensing ahead of time that the day might bring an encounter.
But, prepared or not, when I was faithful to take time with a person and speak a word of truth like Peter spoke when he was on trial, God always seems to give the words to say. And because of that I’ve learned to relax over the years about being a good witness. Russell simply has to be available; how good it turns out is up to God.
And…by the way…an available witness is a good witness!
Well, did you get up this morning thinking, today there will be an opportunity to be like Peter…I will run into someone who just needs to hear the Good News?
I have to confess it wasn’t my first thought either…but it might be so, for both of us. Trust in Christ, listen for the Spirit’s urging, and don’t worry – He will give you the right words at the right time.
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