“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:12-13
Peter and John had good reason to be afraid. They were simple Christian men standing before some of the most powerful people in Jerusalem. Those of you who have been in a situation like this know what real courage is. It is not John Wayne or Clint Eastwood walking fearlessly into the night or into the midst of hoards of Indian tribes. Courage does not mean not being afraid. It means you fear disobeying God more than you fear the mockery of man. The disciples said it toward the end of this passage when the religious leaders threatened them to not speak in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John said, “You are reasonable men. Tell us, should we be afraid of you and do what you tell us, or should we be afraid of God and obey Him?” (Acts 4:19, author’s paraphrase).
Last week we were in the home of African missionaries who are here on furlough. We met their children — two young men. I was so impressed with these MKs. Their parents had home schooled them overseas most of their lives. They moved into this area a year ago. The first day in school at lunch they did what all good Christian children do. They bowed their heads and gave thanks for their food. As they opened their eyes, some of their fellow students nearby looked at them and said, “You’re new here, aren’t you?”
They said “Yes, why?”
Their friends said, “We don’t pray in our lunch hall. You’re not supposed to do that.”
The 16-year-old looked at him and said, “Excuse me. Did I pray for you?”
The friend said, “No.”
“Did I ask you to join me in prayer?”
The MK said, “I’m an American, and I have a right to pray if I want to. This is a free country, and if I want to pray, I will pray.”
I illustrate this because sometimes we think of courage as being out on the mission field. We thank God for the great veterans who have shown us the way. But right where you are, in the schools, in the universities, in the marketplace of life, in your office, we need to be bold. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 28:1: “The wicked flee when no one is chasing them. But the righteous are bold as a lion.”
There is one thing we should never remove from the DNA of every true believer— Holy Spirit courage. Whether you live in North America, Africa, India, or Latin America, these are the days when we will need to stand up like the apostles of old and allow the Holy Spirit to help us even when we feel we are surrounded by forces that seep into everything — whether they are governmental, cultural, religious, or legal. They saw the courage of Peter and John. We need Holy Spirit courage.
Dr. Ivan Satyavrata, the Chairman of the Centre for Global Leadership Development in Bangalore, and is active in shaping India’s future church leaders. A pioneering pastor, author, and scholar who received his Ph.D from the Oxford Centre for Global Missions. His church, Assembly of God Church, Kolkata, India reaches 4,000 attendees in eight different languages each week and run an outreach that provides education and basic nutrition to thousands of children in the city slums. Read more about Dr. Ivan Satyavrata here.