“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.” Acts 4:13 (NKJV)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “boldness”? An obnoxious shock jock radio host? A YouTuber who generates millions of likes and even more dislikes? An athlete who makes guarantees that seldom happen? Or does your mind go back to a relative that always seemed to get the last word in at every family gathering? Whatever your perception of “boldness” is, it’s probably not the same thing we see here in the Book of Acts.
In context, it was one of those “God-incidences” where Peter and John were in the right place, at the right time, with the right message, for the right audience. In the epicenter of Jerusalem with masses of people flowing in and out of the Temple complex (think Times Square), Peter and John healed a beggar who’d been crippled from birth. Everyone knew this guy, and so everyone’s attention was arrested when they suddenly saw him healed. All eyes were locked on him, Peter and John.
Peter used the moment to proclaim who Jesus was and what He’d done. He also shared what those who listened must do—repent and receive the forgiveness of God by believing in Jesus Christ of Nazareth! About five thousand believed, but some seized them and brought them before the religious leaders to explain themselves. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, delivered essentially the same message to them.
This is the “boldness” that’s described here. When we view this wide angle, we see it was a confidence in the things of God fueled by the Holy Spirit. Peter wasn’t obnoxious, condescending, or pushy. But he was so fearless and free in his sharing that it left the spiritual “know-it-all’s” of the day speechless. We can imagine more than a few of them thinking to themselves: I think God just spoke! And He had! And He would continue to speak boldly through the Christian community of believers in a myriad of ways (Philippians 1:14).
That’s the kind of confidence God’s Spirit gives to His people when they proclaim His gospel. The Lord wants us to be bold when it comes to the truths concerning Him, but not in a way that attracts attention to ourselves. Instead, He wants us to be bold in a manner that glorifies Him. We possess the most valuable thing in the world—the truth that leads to forgiveness of sin and eternal life with God. And when we share this great gift, may we do so with a holy confidence that can only come from the Holy Spirit!
PAUSE: What’s a biblical definition for boldness? How did Peter speak with such “boldness”?
PRACTICE: Consider ways you can apply biblical boldness into your life.
PRAY: Father, give me the same kind of boldness as I see in Peter. Develop in me a true biblical, godly boldness that doesn’t turn the attention to me, but points others to You, Your glory, and Your truth. Amen.