Acts 2, 14-15
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Yesterday we witnessed the disciples standing out in a crowd, and facing questioning, mockery and accusation. Today, we see them respond with the Holy Spirit’s power. First they received a miraculous gift to speak in different languages. And now they are filled with a new, equally miraculous, courage which enables them to explain the reason for their counter-cultural lives.
Several words and phrases jump out from verse 14 to emphasise the nature and extent of this new courage. Read it again and note in particular ‘Peter’; ‘standing with the eleven’; ‘raised his voice’; and ‘addressed them.’ Let’s take them one by one.
Peter. Who is this? Could it be the same Peter who recently denied Jesus when one young serving girl put him on the spot? With the Spirit’s power Peter receives the courage to step into who he was called to be all along – the rock on which Jesus will build his church.
Standing with the eleven. Undoubtedly Peter’s new-found courage and gifting is coming from the Holy Spirit, but it is significant that he is not alone in his witness. Peter is the spokesman, but he knows they are all one in mind and heart. His courage is rooted in a community of believers who are also standing for Christ.
Raised his voice. Peter’s courage is sourced from the Spirit, and reinforced by the community of believers, but it is also enabled through his decision to partner with it. He takes a risk, fills his lungs, and speaks loudly.
Addressed them. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter speaks the truth to not just one girl, but a whole crowd of people from many different nations. This is more than overcoming your fear, it is abandoning of fear for the way of love.
We need this kind of courage to stand for Jesus, and his priorities in our world, today – fuelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, the security of Christian community, and the determination of our whole selves to do what is right. There is a huge crowd before us that we must address boldly with the truth that the gospel should be good news to the poor.
Something to do
Take a piece of paper and make a list of things, people or situations that make you feel fearful. Using Galatians 5:22-23 to remind you of all nine listed by Paul, jot down next to each fear, one or two fruits of the Spirit that you feel would give you the courage to overcome your fear. Use your list to pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the love, peace, joy etc that you need.
Something to pray
Holy Spirit whose fruit is perfect love,
Cast out my fear today.
Holy Spirit whose fruit is endless peace,
Calm my anxious heart today.
Holy Spirit whose fruit is joy,
Give me courage today.
Fill me with your presence and power ; surround me with other believers
And give me the strength to unite my mind, my body, and my voice with yours
So I may stand, raise my voice and address the crowd for your truth, and your children.
I choose to use all I have, and all I am
Because of all you are, and all you have done
Today’s contributor is Liz Baddaley, a former staff member of Christian Aid. She is a worship leader, song-writer, freelance writer and editor specialising in Bible study and worship resources for charities. She is also the co-founder ofwww.thesanctuarycentre.org