The Sanhedrin try to intimidate Peter and John into silence, but filled with the Holy Spirit and backed by the indisputable healing of the lame man, they resolve to continue proclaiming the faith. Luke carefully shows how their actions fulfill Jesus’ words in Luke 21:12-15. We find three reasons here to be confident when faced with intimidation and persecution.
Firstly, the prophetic power of Christ. Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and gives a conclusive reply to their questions. In the same way we can trust that God will always guide and fill his Church to respond powerfully to its enemies. Have you felt pressure to give in to the world’s intimidation in your belief or behaviour? Picture the Church from heaven’s perspective: eternal, invincible and glorious and have confidence.
Secondly, the healing power of Christ. The healing of the lame beggar was indisputable. The effects of the Gospel are likewise indisputable: Christ still heals today, in miracles of healing, but also in the whole of our salvation, restoring us and filling us with his love. We are vulnerable to intimidation when we cease to expect or ask for God’s power in our lives. We should always be asking, seeking and knocking for the Spirit’s power to be displayed indisputably in us and through us.
Thirdly, the exclusivity of Christ. Peter tells the Sanhedrin that there is no other name under heaven by which people may saved. The Jewish leaders had nothing to offer to compete with the message of the Apostles, and so the apostles knew they had to keep preaching. The fact that nothing else can bring salvation should move us to have confidence in the Gospel. In the Church of Christ we find a repository of goodness, truth and beauty, the power of the Spirit, the forgiveness of sins and God’s love poured into hearts. Nothing else in the world, no matter how good it seems has these things. This should help us to see that those who ask us to stop preaching the Gospel, or to change our message or our morals have nothing to offer people. This should move us to keep proclaiming the Gospel.