In Today’s reading from Luke’s Acts we see Peter and John jailed and then confronted by the Temple authorities for doing a good deed, healing a person lame form birth and preaching that in Jesus there is resurrection of the dead. Peter and John’s opponents are annoyed because of the welcome response they are receiving from the local people. This threatens the temple leaders’ authority because their hope of salvation was found in temple observance and nothing else.
They did not possess a strong sense of a restored Israel. These temple rulers are not aligned with God’s purpose and plan for salvation. Their power over the people was being challenged by these uneducated followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who healed in his name and promised eternal life not just for the Jewish people but for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. They thought they had put the problem of Jesus behind them but instead found his followers preaching the continued authority of the living Jesus.
The lives of Peter and John show us Jesus’ promise to empower his followers through the Holy Spirit to be faithful and bold witness even in the face of those who threaten. Peter and John did not have to depend on their own wits to challenge the powers that be. Rather the Holy Spirit gave them just the right words.
This is a lesson for each of us who at one time or another have had to explain our belief in Jesus to someone who has been less than sympathetic or have felt we have done a less than adequate job. No special degrees are required or positions of church leadership are necessary for any of us to be open to the work of the Spirit in helping us talk about our faith and belief in the hope of the risen Christ.
If we remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit and let her rule over all aspects of our lives, we too will be empowered to reflect that same conviction that Peter and John display in today’s readings.