“. . . take note of their threats . . . that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence.” Acts 4:29
Don’t be surprised if no one throws you a party because of your belief in Jesus. In fact, you may be met with a cold silence. Be ready for threats to be hurled your way. It’s what critics do when they have run out of options.
The tone in these verses have shifted from confrontation to coercion. The religious leaders knew they couldn’t dispute the miracle so they threatened them not to speak of Jesus anymore. Peter and John resist their intimidation, but not by accident. Their response gives us a strategy for finding uncommon strength to maintain faithfulness in the face of threat-makers.
Seize the situation.
For the Apostles, every miracle was only a starting point. In one step, from the healing of the lame man, they pivoted into the saving work of Christ’s cross. In ministry to others, we should always point to the deeper message in the moment of the healing and salvation of the soul. There’s no room for harboring offenses and hurt feelings when you’re pointing others to Jesus.
Speak of the Savior.
Peter and John made much of the saving power of Christ in front of fans and critics. The painters of North America, have spoken of the Christ as a blue-eyed, blonde-haired teacher, adorned in golden rays of light. But that Jesus never saved the soul. Others have spoken of Christ as of the philosopher, but that Christ never moved from the intellect to the depths of the heart racked by sin. The Christ we speak of is a Savior who knows us, loves us and died for us, rose again and now intercedes for us.
Stay in step with the Spirit.
Peter and John after having been threatened, gave an eloquent reply to their opponents of what they had seen and heard. Gaining the winning edge in any situation is not a well-trained intellect, or how many books you’ve read, nor is it the ability to argue. The soul-piercing difference between one who believes and another who overcomes, is fire.
Don’t panic, just remember – the presence of the Holy Spirit puts heat in the heart. Holy Spirit is at work through us to disarm the threat-makers in our life.