Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:8-12 (NIV)
I hate missed opportunities. They leave pestering questions lurking about the brain and make a mess of your judgement. The ones that hurt the most are opportunities to speak about Jesus that are gagged by fear or propriety. I need to be braver. I need to speak about Jesus just as easily as I talk about the weather. But it is easy to ride under the radar and think of my faith as something covert.
The rationalizations are plentiful and pitiful. There’s always the got to argument of separation of church and state, or you can always opt for the “I don’t want to offend anyone” approach. You can argue that you don’t want to be one of those “pushy” Christians or that faith is a private matter. And you can fall back on the greatly abused and misused quote attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” These arguments fall to pieces in light of the consistent testimony of Scripture that we are called to speak of Jesus.
Peter is in an overtly antagonistic setting, with little reputation or resources to back him up. His life and liberty in a political sense are at risk, and yet he speaks boldly before God and man regarding the life, death, resurrection and power of Jesus. None of the arguments listed above have been given any thought whatsoever. He is a speaker of truth and that is enough reason to speak and he used plenty of words over the course of his life to preach the gospel. Granted that his words were often punctuated by the power of Jesus, but he used plenty of words.
I don’t want my children to ever be afraid of speaking about Jesus. I want their conversations and proclamations about Him to be as free and easy as a greeting to a friend. So I must overcome my own fear. I must not care about being thought foolish. I must not be concerned with reputation. I must be fearless in speaking about Jesus.
Lord, give me courage to speak about Your son Jesus Christ with clarity and humility. May I teach my children to share about the life they have with You through the death and ressurrection of Your Son. Help me speak of Jesus often, openly and purposefully. Amen.