29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
(For background you can find the whole of Acts 5 to read here.)
This is part of the text that was preached at my home church this Sunday. I have not listened to the sermon yet as it was my turn to look after my two year old this week so consequently was out the back playing with cars.
But when this was read it makes me think of another moment in Peters life which I will reproduce below and draw comparison to what goes on above.
Peter Disowns Jesus
69Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. 70But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.
71Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."
72He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"
73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away."
74Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
It is just a simple point that I want to make but very important I believe.
Here is Peter not long before the events at the top denying Jesus to a bunch of no ones. A servant girl in a court yard asks him and he says he never new Jesus.
Yet here he is standing before the Sanhedrin and being questioned by the High Priest and he says:
29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
Wow that's a bit of a difference. He wilts before a servant girl but stands up before the High priest and tells him you murdered Jesus who is the messiah!
When we ask where our courage should come from when standing up for Jesus it is important to note where the Apostles got courage from. This is in the days when the Holy Spirit has just been sent. That is one reason that Peter had the courage. The other is he believed in a risen Christ and wanted nothing more than to do what his saviour required of him. So ask yourself the question. Do I have the Holy Spirit in my life?
If the answer to that is yes then am I witnessing? Do I have the courage to tell people about my saviour? If the answer to those is yes then I have no problem. If the answer is no then I am not letting the Holy Spirit have the kind of influence on my life that he should. If I did then the one thing that I would want most is to do the will of God. I would be telling everyone.