After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’
For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In the reading from Acts, we see Peter and John immediately after they have been released from an interrogation by the chief priests and elders. The Jewish authorities had warned them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, but Peter and John responded “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” This was a daring reply to the authorities. Where did it come from? Certainly not from themselves. Remember only days ago Peter had been so afraid that he denied even knowing Jesus. Their new enthusiasm and fearless determination could only come from what they had seen and heard, Jesus raised from the dead and still with them.
This is one of the few instances in Acts where Luke reports what the disciples and the other believers prayed for in response to the opposition from the authorities. They prayed not to be safe from their enemies but for God to stretch forth his hand to heal them. They prayed to be able “to speak your word with boldness,” to have the power to continue to proclaim the risen Jesus in “signs and wonders” done in his name. They did not ask God to deliver them from their opponents; rather, their desire for boldness that was the result of knowing Jesus was still with them, filled them with his Spirit that literally shook the place where they were gathered.
Where is the Spirit in my life? Can God’s Spirit fill me, or do I need to get rid of some obstacles to make room for the Holy Spirit to fill my heart?
—Fr. Jim Riley, S.J., a veteran high school educator, is currently superior of the Jesuit community at St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland OH.
Lord, increase our confidence that your Holy Spirit knows our heart and and is there in the details of our struggles and the countless blessings we so easily overlook. We will pause throughout our day and call upon the Holy Spirit.
—Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!