SATURDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
READ: ACTS 4:13-21
Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, "What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name." So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened.
In our passage today, Peter and John are brought before the Jewish authorities and questioned regarding the healing that Peter performed "in the name of Jesus". Jesus prophetic word is coming true in this scene. "No student is above his teacher...if they hated me, they will hate you...blessed are you when you are persecuted for my name's sake". John, the beloved disciple who stood at the Cross, stands in the same place that Jesus did on the night before His death, before the same men who falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy and set up the circumstanced for his crucifixion. Peter too stands before them. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, he no longer hides in the back of the room, or seeks to deny knowing Jesus. Now he is emboldened, and stands in Jesus' place without hesitation.
Our second to last meditation for this prayer series for this season is simple: Whether you are like John and love of God seems to come naturally; or, if you are like Peter wavering, inconsistent, but ultimately with a desire to be faithful, the call to share Christ with others is the same. There will be people who reject us because of the name of Jesus, and there will be people who accept us. Let's ask the Holy Spirit for the courage today to carry the name of Jesus without fear into the world, and with complete trust that there truly is no greater name to live for.
Do you identify with St. Peter or St. John more in your life?
Are you afraid of being rejected by people because of the name of Jesus?
How does God want to help you overcome this fear?
If someone were to ask you why you believe in Jesus, why living a life following Him is worth it, what would you say?
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just. "The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD has struck with power." I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Though the LORD has indeed chastised me, yet he has not delivered me to death. Open to me the gates of justice; I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the just shall enter it. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior. R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
How can you be bold in sharing the name of Jesus this week?