Part IV

The Holy Spirit Empowers

Then, in Acts Chapter 3, we read of a miracle that took place after the disciples had been baptised with the Holy Spirit, as we can read in Acts 3:1-6

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us.” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”

Peter and John were not only empowered to preach, they were empowered to heal, as the healing of this crippled man demonstrates. Not everyone was happy with their actions and preaching, and consequently they found themselves in prison, as we can read in Acts 4:1-3

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.

However, those who had thrown them in prison had no case against them, so they had to free them. As soon as Peter and John were released, they joined the other believers to tell them what had happened to them. We can well imagine that the believers decided it was necessary to stay out of sight for a while, since they would all be in danger of prison. But is that what they decided to do? Let’s read Acts 4:23-31 

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “You made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.*

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed. They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak Your word with great boldness. Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the Name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

*See Psalm 2:1-2

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.

These believers, too, had become bold people, as we can see from the prayer they prayed. The imprisonment of Peter and John did not stop them from stepping out and continuing their bold preaching. On the contrary, enabled by the Holy Spirit, they became even bolder in their teaching and preaching.

Part V